Chairman – Arthur Wheeler.
Vice-chairman – William Dougan.
Secretary – Kenneth Chadwick.
Treasurer – Gordon Cameron.
Outings Committee – Claude Harrison.
Executive Committee – Irene Bastow Hudson, Robert McCaw, Mrs. E. Posgate.
February 5 – Club talk by L.E. Taylor on bird’s at Y.M.C.A.
February 23 – Club trip to Mt. Shepherd.
March 8 – All-day trip to Bluff Mountain.
March 22 – Club trip to Muir Creek fossil beds.
March 26 – Club’s 24th annual banquet at the Empress Hotel.
April 12 – Club trip to Mt. Jeffrey.
April 18/19/20/21 – Club camp in Sooke Hills.
May 17 – Club picnic at James White’s place at Killarney Lake.
June 30–July 9 – Annual camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
August 30/31/Sept. 1 – Club camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
September 20 – Club half day trip to Lone Tree Hill.
October 4 – Club trip to Mt. Tzouhalem.
November 1 – Club trip to Blinkhorn Mountain.
November 8/9/10 – Club camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
November 30 – Half day club trip to Mt. Scafe.
December 27/28/29 – Three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
Section members who attended the ACC annual summer camp at Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park: Irene Bastow Hudson, Lindley Crease.
Birds Described to Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday February 7, 1930, p.7.
A fascinating address on birds was given by Mr. L.E. Taylor of Saanichton, at a well attended meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the Y.M.C.A. Wednesday evening [February 5]. Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan was in the chair, and Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, convenor of the outing committee, moved the very hearty vote of thanks to the speaker at the close of his talk, which was a very illuminating survey on the habits and origin of the various domestic fowls—pigeons, ostriches, canaries; of the great scavengers—gulls, kites and vultures; of the eiderdown duck, the wild goose and various insect-eating birds. In connection with this last subject, Mr. Taylor showed the essential importance of birds as destroyer of insects. Without birds the world would long have become barren of vegetation through the depredations of potato bugs, the silk worm, the locust, the elm bug and similar pests. Correspondence read included a letter from Mr. James White, of Sidney, extending the customary invitation to Lake Killarney, on May 17, which was received with grateful appreciation, and from the Victoria Real Estate Board asking for the club’s co-operation in the preservation of wild flowers.
Country To Be Explored By Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 16, 1930, p.3.
In the above picture are seen some of the hills in the Sooke country which are to be the objective of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada expedition this season. Among them will be seen Mount Shepherd, second from the left, which is to be climbed on Sunday, February 23. There are also visible the position in the “skyline” of the Lake of the Seven Hills, which is to be the scene of a week-end camp from April 18 to 21, Good Friday to Easter Monday, inclusive, and the position of Empress Mountain, where a subcamp will be stationed during the Summer camp from June 30 to July 9 at the Lake of the Seven Hills. The local section has a very fine programme of outings drawn up for the year, next Sunday’s to be the second. On March 8 there will be an all-day expedition to Bluff Mountain, on March 22 a visit to Muir Creek fossil beds, and on April 12 an all-day trip to Mount Jeffrey.
Alpine Club Meets a Bear
Party Climbing Bluff Mt. Yesterday Has Novel Experience.
Spring And Summer Programme Off to Good Start—Fossil Beds Next Destination
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 9, 1930, p.6.
Yesterday’s Alpine Club expedition to Bluff Mountain in the Sooke country, was made unusually exciting by the advent of a big black bear on the landscape while the climbers were nearing the summit. Ursus was shy, however, and retreated into the woods as soon as he noted the visitors. Eighteen members joined the outing, which left the city at 9 o’clock in the morning and began to climb about 10 o’clock after parking their cars at the terminus of the Sooke River Road. The weather was fine for the first hour or so, but later rain and snow were encountered. The summit of Bluff Mountain was reached about 1 o’clock, and after lunch and brief tour of exploration the party returned to their starting point via the northern side of the hill. Some rough going was experienced, but under Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison’s expert guidance obstacles were circumvented and the different points reached on scheduled time. The outing, which is the third of the 1930 Spring and Summer series, was made additionally enjoyable by the dinner-dance at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke Harbor, with which it concluded. On their arrival at the hotel the climbing party found about the same number of non-climbing members, and dinner proved a very jolly event, each person responding to his name in the roll-call by a song, story or anecdote which enlivened the proceedings. After dinner there was dancing until midnight, Mr. R. [Robert] McCaw making a versatile pianist. The club’s next outing will be on Saturday, March 22, when the Muir Creek fossil beds will be visited. Eight new members joined yesterday.
Hears Lecture on Plateau
Mr. C.L. Harrison Spoke to Overseas Club at Victoria
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 12, 1930, p.8.
A large number of members of the Overseas League met in Victoria to hear a lecture by Claude L. Harrison on the little-known mountain territory lying between Courtenay and the West Coast and embracing Mount Becher, Mount Albert Edward and the Forbidden Plateau. The lecturer said this particular territory was explored during last summer by an expedition of the members of the Alpine Club of Victoria led by himself, and having the ascent of Mount Albert Edward (altitude about 7,000 feet) for its special objective. The region explored by the expedition consists of a series of mountains, valleys and plateaux, plentiful studded with beautiful lakes, and traversed by picturesque mountain torrents and stream, some of which flow through canyons having a depth of from 1,500 to 2,000 feet. The vegetation in the lower valleys and plateaux consists for the most part of patches of heather, rank grass and stunted trees, the heather rather than the grass growing on the higher ground. Many deer, ptarmigan and other animals and birds were seen in the lower-lying country, and unmistakable evidences of the presence of both cougars and wolves were met with. Mr. Harrison exhibited a number of very fine colored lantern pictures showing the great beauty of the country traversed by the expedition. He concluded his address by very insistently advocating the preservation of this territory as a national park reservation and the systematic conservation of the more scenic parts of Vancouver Island from ruthless devastation by logging operators. The members of the league unanimously agreed with Mr. Harrison’s conservation contentions, and warmly applauded and thanked him for his very interesting lecture.
Should Take Over Forbidden Plateau
Provincial Government Asked To Expropriate
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 12, 1930, p.8.
It is evident that the Forbidden Plateau is going to be the scene of many expeditions this spring and summer. Mr. H. Barnes and importer of shrubs and trees of Vancouver, is going to take a party of about 26 to the Plateau, probably in July. Mr. G.H. Wailes of the Biological Station at Nanaimo is planning to escort a party of geologists into the region this summer, too, and there is no doubt that there will be many more. The Alpine Club of Vancouver is seeking information about a trip to the Dome Glacier [Comox Glacier] for its Dominion Day holiday. A resolution was passed at the meeting of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade on Tuesday [March 10] that the province expropriates the Forbidden Plateau for the purpose of turning it over to the Dominion Government. This was endorsing the action of the provincial board of the B.C. Automobile Club, which is going to put the matter before the government shortly. The president, Mr. P.L. [Leo] Anderton, and Mr. Theed Pearse who have left for Victoria, will co-operate with the B.C. Automobile Club at this end. Mrs. Edna M. Fowlie of Penticton asked the board for lantern slides of Vancouver Island to illustrate a lecture. The matter was considered favorable and was referred to the Publicity Committee. Ald. [William] Douglas reported that five oil-paintings that had been placed at Nanaimo and Victoria very favorably and that the recipients were very pleased with them. Fifty dollars has been voted to the B.C. Advertisers for a page in their folders. A great deal of the time of the meeting was taken up with the consideration of slogans. A committee of judges had sifted the 428 received down to eleven. Some members of the board did not see eye to eye with the judges in their system of judging and a final decision was adjourned. Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood said he wanted to pay a special tribute of thanks to the Nanaimo branch of the Automobile Club for their assistance in advertising this part of the island to tourists and in that matter of roads. Mr. William Douglas brought forward the names Messrs. Geo. Russell of Denman Island and Mr. L.G. Layton of Courtenay was new members and they were accepted by the board. Mr. William Douglas asked if it were the desire to hold a Klondyke Dance this year and he was told to go ahead. The next meeting will be the annual meeting and it will again take the form of a dinner.
Alpine Club Anniversary Dinner Held
Beauty Of B.C. And Island Mountain Scenery Theme Of Speeches At Annual Gathering—Local Section Is Rapidly Growing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 27, 1930, p.5.
Glowing tribute to the beauty and inspiration which is to be found among the mountainous districts of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, was paid by several speakers at the twenty-fourth anniversary dinner of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held last night [March 26] in the Duke of Kent private dinning room at the Empress Hotel. The record attendance at this annual gathering testified to growing interest in mountains and mountaineering craft. The majority of the sixty-five guests present were active members who have participated in part or all of the section’s climbing programme during the year; and while Hon. F. [Frederick] P. Burden, Minister of Lands, and other speakers touched on the value of such an organization in calling attention of tourists to this province, the primary claims of mountaineering as a healthful sport and recreation were emphasized by all. “To endure as well as to enjoy is an important principle with the Alpinist,” Mr. Lindley Crease noted in the course of his response to Mr. R. [Robert] D. McCaw’s toast to the “Alpine Club of Canada.” This comment suggested the innate character-testing qualities of the pastime. Mr. W. [William] H. Dougan, vice-chairman of the section, presided in the absence of the chairman, Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, F.R.G.S., founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, and now honorary president of the national organization after holding the position of president and director for many years. Both the presiding chairman, Mr. Dougan, and Mr. McCaw paid eloquent tribute to Mr. Wheeler as a mountaineer, the former characterizing the absent chairman as “the grand old man of the mountains.” Mr. Wheeler’s annual message of greeting was listened to with enthusiasm, being in part as follows:
The Annual Message
“My very dear comrades of the great hill, it is my desire to send to you my greetings and congratulations upon the arrival of our twenty-fourth anniversary. When I look back upon the struggles and difficulties of our youthful days, I feel proud to know how firmly and satisfactorily we are established upon the rock of the Canadian Cordilleras. And yet I cannot but doubt whether the luxury of the outdoor life in modern times can equal the joy and enthusiasm of the more primitive equipment of our beginning. For there were giants in those days. And so it is with the mountains themselves. Do not forget that there are still many peaks to conquer in parts that are little known. Always bear in mind that we are the Alpine representative of the Canadian Cordilleras, and as such have a high and definite standard to aspire to as well as a national responsibility.” “My message to you is to keep on doing things in the same old way. We have motor cars, we have airplanes, we have speed boats, but with all their speed and elimination of distance they cannot take from us the joy of a glorious climb, its product of our own muscles and our own energies upon a mountain well beset with ice and snow, and the ultimate exaltation of mind on reaching the summit, when the world is at our feet and we have achieved the climax of our endeavour,” the chairman’s message added. The sixfold objects of the Alpine Club were set out by Mr. R.D. McCaw in his toast to “The Alpine Club of Canada.” The promotion of scientific study and exploration of Canadian Alpine and glacial regions; the cultivation of art in relation to mountain scenery; the education of Canadians to an appreciation of their mountain heritage; the encouragement of mountain craft and the opening of new regions as national playground; the preservation of the natural beauties of the mountain places and of the fauna and flora in their habitat; and the interchange of literature with other alpine and geographical organizations.
Founded twenty-four years ago the membership numbered about 650 scattered over Canada, the United States and England, local sections being in London, New York, Minneapolis, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. In responding to this toast, Mr. Lindley Crease noted the improvement which had taken place in the craft of mountaineering with the organization of Alpine clubs and the scientific study of the pastime. Engineers and land surveyors, whose primary objective in climbing a mountain was to get to the top, had gone at it very much on the principle of “catch as catch can.” Today it was a science. Some of the great names in mountaineering were recalled, including that of the famous Edward Whymper. The mountains had a stimulating and ennobling influence.
Mr. C.L. Harrison, in proposing the toast to “The Province,” reminded the gathering of the scenic magnificence which British Columbia held within its boundaries. Not the least of the province’s resources in this respect were to be found on Vancouver Island, which had some of the finest mountain regions. In this connection tribute was paid to the assistance which the Government was giving in developing and making these accessible, with special reference to the interest taken in making available the beautiful area in the Sooke Hills, now owned by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, and which about two hundred members and others had visited last year. It was to be hoped the administration would continue to show friendly interest in the development of British Columbia’s playgrounds and the setting aside of some such fine areas as were to be found facing the Pacific on Vancouver Island. The attraction of the Fort George riding, which he represents, were called attention to by Hon. F.P. Burden, Minister of Lands, in his response to the toast to “The Province.” British Columbia might well claim to be the premier province of the Dominion, scenically, and should be proud of its great natural playgrounds. If the Alpine Club had no other justification, although he had reason to believe it had, the part which it played in advertising the mountain beauties of British Columbia made it important. The tourist business was daily becoming more important to the province. Messages of greetings were read by the secretary of the Calgary branch, as well as from Mr. Thomas B. Moffat, of Calgary, president of the Alpine Club of Canada. A musical programme, arranged by Mr. R.D. McCaw, include delightful vocal solos by Mrs. McCaw, “Twas April” (Nevin) and “Suzette”; and “On the Road to Mandalay” by Mr. McCaw, Mrs. [Bernice] Chave making an able accompanist. Mr. Gordon Cameron led the choruses, “We’ve Been Tramping on the Mountain,” “The More We Get Together,” “Haul! Haul!” and “My Beauties Lies Up in the Mountains,” the solo part sung by Mrs. McCaw.
Mayor Walks Seven Miles With Posy
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday April 19, 1930, p.2.
Members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, who went up to the camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, in the Sooke Mountains, yesterday, found the following freshly chalked on the Jordan River pipe-line high above the river: “The Mayor passed her at 8:55 a.m. Good Friday, April 18.” On arrival at the camp, they were met by Mr. John Craig, the picturesque mayor of Leechtown, who had set out in the early dawn and walked seven miles of railway track and mountain trail in order to bring a nosegay of Leechtown daffodils and flowering current to Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, the popular leader of Alpine Club outings, and Mrs. Harrison.
Where Alpine Club Is Spending Holiday
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday April 20, 1930, p.2.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada is enjoying its first camp of the year, twelve members going under canvas at the Lake of the Seven Hills (No. 7 on the above map) on Good Friday to remain over the Easter holidays. The weather has been ideal, and under Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison’s guidance some good climbs are being experienced in the hills surrounding the beautiful mountain tarn which the club’s property embraces. The legend on the accompanying map indicates some of the major eminences in the Sooke district which are accessible from the camp. Members were gratified to find on their first visit of the year to the lake that work on the club hut is progressing, and a number of logs have already been cut and dressed.
Alpine Club Plan Another Week-end
Arrangements Already Under Way for Four Days’ May Camp—Bonfire Island Inaugurated
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 29, 1930, p.5.
Inspired by the success of the recent Easter camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke Range, when a total of thirty-eight members and guests registered in during the four days with a maximum of twenty-two under canvas on any one night, the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada is already making plans for a four-days’ camp at the Leech River Falls on Empire Day week-end. The main party will leave Victoria at 9 a.m., on Friday, May 23, by C.N.R. gas train, and camp will not break until the following Monday, although the trip will be so arranged that members who wish to be back in the city on the Monday morning may come out on Sunday evening. Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, outings convener, will be in personal charge of the expedition. A new feature of the recent camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills was the inauguration of Bonfire Island. This island, which is about a hundred feet from the point on the shore where the main camp is situate, has been connected by the mainland by a picturesque rustic bridge, and owing to its isolation and the fact that it is surrounded by water, bonfires can be lighted without the hazard to the country round about. The three evening bonfires held last week-end were very jolly occasions, with impromptu programmes which brought out some good talent from among the guests. Work on the new hut is steadily progressing. The construction is in the hands of Mr. S.W. Batten. The building will be of perpendicularly-placed logs, and the overall measurement of the floor space will be twenty by thirty feet, with an eight-foot verandah. A great stone fire-place is being built. The camp design includes a plan for an open-air table round which the campers will gather for their meals, and it is the intention to have the whole establishment in complete readiness for the ten-days’ camp to be held from June 30 to July 9 inclusive, when a sub-camp is to be opened also on Mount Empress.
Survey Promised For Plateau
First Step To Making Area A National Park
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday May 1, 1930, p.1.
What, it is hoped, will be the first step in making the Forbidden Plateau a national park was taken when Mr. D.C. Coleman, vice president of the C.P.R. and president of the E&N railway, definitely ordered a survey to be made of the area embraced by this park for the purpose of estimating the lumber and mineral values. It is contended by all those who wish to see it a park that most of the timber is quite valueless and that the small stands that would be good for pulpwood at some remote time are so isolated and distant as to be of no merchantable value. As to minerals, although some claims have been staked, no ore of any importance whatever has ever been found and indications are poor that it ever will be. The survey will be made just as soon as it is possible to get into the Plateau with such a survey in view and Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, City Clerk has been given leave of absence for a week to accompany the party as guide.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 4, 1930, p.8.
The Misses Phyllis and Eileen Pendray entertained at a delightful little dance last evening at their home, 2391 Beach Drive, the guests, about forty in number, being members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, who were present at the Easter Week-end camp at Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke. A three-piece orchestra in charge of Mr. C. Heston, furnished the music, and late in the evening a buffet supper was served, the table presenting a very attractive appearance with its decorations of yellow tulips and yellow tapers. Lilac and tulips were used in profusion for the decoration of the other reception rooms.
Ice And Snow Now All Gone In Open Stretches
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 5, 1930, p.1.
Mr. E. [Eugene] Croteau has gone to make camp on the Forbidden Plateau this year. Mr. Ronald R. Ruddiman, Assistant Scout Executive of the Seattle Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has gone in to spy out the land for the Boy Scouts of America. The ice is off the lakes and in ten days time it will have all gone in the open. A committee of the Board of Trade waited upon Dr. G. [George] K. MacNaughton, M.L.A., and the Assistant District Engineer to ask him to extend the Dove Creek trail two miles and a half from the farm towards the Plateau. This is now the only real available entrance to the plateau as the swinging bridge has been dropped at Bevan, and long stretches of the trail have been obliterated by logs thrown down by the Comox Logging company.
Much Interest in Forbidden Plateau
Annual Meeting of Mountaineering Club Well Attended
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 19, 1930, p.1.
That there is real enthusiasm for hiking and mountaineering in the district was well shown by the excellent attendance at the annual meeting of the Comox-Courtenay and District Mountaineering Club on Friday night in the City Hall when 25 members turned out. This was particularly noticeable among the younger people who appeared very keen. After the ballot, Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood was elected president with Mr. William Douglas as vice-president. The list of the officers is as follows: President – C.S. Wood; Vice-President – William Douglas; Sec.-Treas. – Mr. Geoffrey B. Capes; Executive Committee -the Misses Anderson and Rea and Messrs. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, Ben Hughes, Eversfield and Moore. Dr. [Frank] Moore was re-nominated for secretary treasurer but insisted on retiring. On the invitation of the president, Mr. E. [Eugene] Croteau revealed his plan for the camp on Forbidden Plateau this year. He told the members that he expected their support and pointed out that if he did not make a success of it this year it would be difficult for the club to get anyone else to take on the job. He has fixed his camp on a beautiful lake just in the Plateau country proper. He said that Courtenay and the district would derive much benefit from the travel into the Plateau. As to the accommodation on the Plateau he has bult a cabin and he already had 12 tents, which had been loaned to him, which would make quite a little city. He suggested that the club should use their influence to get the Dove Creek trail improved and also to getting look-outs with the idea of having them cut by fallers when they were located. A resolution was passed asking the government to continue the Burns Road two miles and a half up the Dove Creek trail. This would mean the length of the trail would be cut 20 per cent; a great advantage. It could be done at comparatively small cost as for part of the road, it could follow an old diamond drill trail. The president, in his resume of the work done for the year, reported that the Mount Becher Cabin still wanted some work done on it to complete it and they owed $125 on a note. There was a twelve-foot toboggan to be taken up there next year, given by Messrs. William Douglas and A. [Alfred] T. Searle. Some of the lakes on the Plateau had been stocked with fish and seven more would be this year. He would like to see a little more interest taking in clubs and hikes. He reported that a great deal of information had been obtained by a party that had climbed the Dome [Comox Glacier] under the leadership of Mr. Paul and the Vancouver [Island] section of the B.C. Alpine Club was coming up at the Dominion holidays to go into the same country.
Alpine Club Goes to Camp
About 40 Members Go Under Canvas for Ten Days At Lake Of The Seven Hills—Sub-Camp Being Placed On Mt. Empress, Where Nightly Bonfire Will Be Visible From Victoria
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 29, 1930, p.4.
With registration of about forty, the Summer camp of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, which opens tomorrow at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke Mountains, will go under canvas as the largest camp yet organized at the popular mountain resort. Mr. Claude Harrison, outings convenor, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, the secretary, and one or two others left for the camp yesterday to get things in readiness. Other members will leave today and tomorrow, so that by tomorrow night there should be a record attendance round the camp fire. The camp is to continue until Wednesday, July 9, inclusive, and a splendid programme of climbs has been drawn up for the entertainment of the members. A sub-camp is to be erected on Mount Empress, and will be ready tomorrow, so that the more ambitious members can proceed there at once and start their exploration of the district. While the supplies and equipment at the main camp, Lake of the Seven Hills, are as generous as are usually found at a big camp, those at the sub-camp will be of a simpler kind, demanded by the fact that it is quite a distance from the main trail, and much more inaccessible.
Silk tents and concentrated foods are being taken over. Every night, commencing on Tuesday, July 1, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, a great bonfire will be lighted on the top of Empress Mountain, and Victoria friends who are interested in the position of the encampment will be able to locate it by looking westward at this time. In the daytime the point may be seen as the highest point on the skyline as seen from the corner of Government and Yates Street, Government and Fort. Six persons will attend the sub-camp every night from July 1 to July 8 inclusive. The nightly bonfire at the Lake of the Seven Hills will not be visible from Victoria, although the camp is high up in the hills. Some months ago it was decided, as a safeguard against the starting of forest fires, to construct these bonfires on the small island in the lake, and to this end a light bridge will be built connecting the island to the mainland. It has added a picturesque feature to the camp surroundings, and the little walk to and from the camp is very attractive.
The equipment, which is delivered by pack train to the camp grounds yesterday, includes a radio outfit and a gramophone. The pack train, which is in charge of Mr. S. Batten, will go in and out of camp daily, keeping up a fresh supply of vegetables and meats. Since the last camp a large permanent eating house has been constructed. This is in keeping with the place, being built of logs, and has tables and seats to accommodate forty-four people. The cooking arrangements are also much improved, three open air cooking stoves have been installed. The store house is also of more permanent type. The canoe and rubber boat will be available again, and boating and bathing are certain to be popular. Following are a list of those who are attending the ten days’ camp: Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mr. K.M. Chadwick, Mr. R. [Reginald] Chave. Cyril Chave, Miss J. [Janet] Bell, Mr. Gordon Cameron, A. D’Arcy, W. [William] H. Dougan, Mrs. [Charlotte ] Hadow, Miss Audrey Hadow, Mr. A. [Arthur] Haynes, Miss Marjorie Haynes, Miss Mary Haynes, Mrs. [Sylvia] Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, Mr. J. Holmes, Miss Holmes, Miss G. Johnson, Miss M. Little, Captain Lloyd, Miss E. Melton, Dr. W.M. [Mark] Mitchell, Miss P. [Phyllis] Pendary, Miss E. [Eileen] Pendray, Miss C. Pine, Miss Margaret Watson, Miss K. [Catherine] Wollaston, Mrs. John Nairn, Captain and Mrs. Fleming, Miss E. Lougheed, Miss Hind, Mr. L. Bosch, Miss Vesey, and several visitors.
Fireworks Seen from Empress Mountain
Alpine Club, Now in Camp At Lake Of The Seven Hills—Enjoys Dominion Day Celebration
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday July 5, 1930, p.4.
According to communications received from the annual camp of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, now in progress at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke Mountains, the weather is ideal, and the forty or more members are making full use of the days to climb all the higher summits in the neighboring country. The subcamp on Empress Mountain is proving particularly successful, the prearranged capacity of the camp being occupied every night, and with the fine clear mornings the climbers have been rewarded, on reaching the summit with magnificent views. The spectacle of Victoria’s Dominion Day fireworks display was distinctly visible on Tuesday evening. The annual camp was in complete operation by Monday evening, with about forty members gathered around the campfire at the Lake of the Seven Hills. The reconnaissance party, headed by Mr. Claude Harrison, had been the occupation for the two previous days, and had everything in readiness, even to the Union Jack floating from the high flagstaff. From quite early Monday morning, the little bands on mountaineers continued to arrive at the camp, gratified to find everything already in smooth-running order. A pack train, which goes in and out daily, had already bought in abundant supplies as well as the heavier packs, including tents and bedding, and four outdoor stoves were “drawing” splendidly and taking care of the cooking. Tuesday was a busy day. On that evening the first party was installed at the Mount Empress subcamp. Also, from the main camp two expeditions were dispatched, one in charge of Mr. [William] Dougan, making the ring of the Seven Hills. This was a very popular expedition, and with bright, clear weather and a sharp wind blowing, the visibility was splendid from each of the summits, Victoria being seen from Nos. 5, 1 and 2 summits. The lake waters are now quite warm, and on return to camp the climbers went swimming. The second expedition that day was to Mount Empress, the party being limited to six, owing to the capacity of equipment at the subcamp. This first night’s party included Miss P. [Phyllis] Pendray, Miss E. Lougheed, Miss M. Watson, Mr. K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick and Mr. L. Bosch, the leader of the party. As night fell, a beautiful view over the northern part of Sooke Lake and Goldstream Lake, the southern part of Sooke Harbor, the mountains of Leech River and Victoria was visible.
One of the rare sights, which will never be visible any other time of the year, probably, was the display of fireworks at Victoria. These were easily seen, particularly soaring rockets and “star” flares. This section of the party returned to the main camp on Wednesday, and spent the remainder of the day constructing trails. In the afternoon a little variation and excitement in the camp life was provided with the arrival of a consignment of fry from the Cowichan Lake hatcheries. Those planted last year have grown well, and it is hoped that in another two seasons the camp will have plenty of fishing for the members’ diversion, although the intention is to keep this under strict supervision to prevent extinction of the fish. The last dispatch from the camp arrived yesterday, and reports with daily arrival of visitors and members. Among the more recent expeditions to leave camp was one under Captain Lloyd to the Seven Hills, another in charge of Mr. Dougan to Mount Empress subcamp, and a third under Mr. K.M. Chadwick, went in another direction. On Thursday evening a fourth party went out to Mount Empress camp in charge of the outings’ convenor, Mr. C. [Claude] L. Harrison. Although it was a blustery night and slightly cold, everyone enjoyed the outing. Toward midnight there was a fine display of northern lights, visible for about an hour. The shafts of light rose high over the Coast Range from the direction of Vancouver. Yesterday another party, under Captain Lloyd, took in the hills about Grass Lake, and another party left in the evening, in charge of Mr. Chadwick, for Mount Empress subcamp.
Alpine Club To Begin Outings
Schedule Of Pre-Christmas Activities Arranged At Meeting Yesterday—Will Climb Tzouhalem
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday August 14, 1930, p.3.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada is planning a full programme for the 1930-31 climbing season, and at a special meeting of the outings committee held last night at the home of the section secretary, K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick, Chestnut Street, a schedule of pre-Christmas events was drawn up which will keep the members active up to the end of November. One of these outings to Mount Tzouhalem, will take the club for the first time to the Cowichan district. The season will start with a three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills over the Labor Day week-end, viz, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 30, 31 and September 1. Other outings were fixed as follows: Saturday, September 20, half-day expedition to Lone Tree Hill; Saturday, October 4, whole day expedition to Mount Tzouhalem; Saturday, October 18, whole day outing to Bluff Mountain, returning to the Sooke Harbor Hotel for dinner; Saturday, November 1, half-day at Blinkhorn, Mountain; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, November 8, 9 and 10, three-day camp at Lake of the Seven Hills; Sunday, November 30, half-day expedition to Scafe’s Mountain. The annual meeting will take place early in December, but there will probably be no outings during this month owing to the rush of events which always characterizes the pre-Christmas season. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, convenor of the outings committee, presided at last night’s meeting, and other members present were K.M. Chadwick, W. [William] H. Dougan and Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow. Later in the season another meeting will be held for the purpose of drawing up the programme of outings for the first six months of 1931.
By Lindsay Elms
After Adrian Paul and his party’s ascent in 1930, the surveyor Leroy Cokely set up a station on what he called the “hump” on Alexandra Peak. Then on July 11, 1934 the surveyor Norman Stewart, along with packers Dick Williams and Dan Harris climbed the peak in wet, foggy conditions, however, they left their instruments at the timberline. Two days later Stewart and William’s were back on the summit only this time they were able to take some readings but no photographs. Stewart returned again on July 17 and 18 to obtain more readings and that was followed by three days of rain. Finally, on July 22 and 23 Stewart took his last readings from the two summit stations (Alexandra NE and SE) before heading back to Circlet Lake. However, while on the summit of Alexandra Peak on the 23 Stewart was able to see William Moffat, another surveyor, on the summit of Mount Albert Edward. Although it is probable that there were other parties who visited Alexandra Peak, there are no recorded ascents again until the Labour Day weekend of September 1964 when the Comox District Mountaineering Club and Nanaimo’s Island Mountain Ramblers combined for a three daytrip. They accessed the mountain from the Oyster River and on the second day Otto Winnig, Ron Facer and Mike Stout separated from the group and choose their own route eventually meeting the others, Syd Watts, Don Apps et al, on the summit. Today Alexandra Peak is no longer climbed from Circlet Lake the way Adrian Paul and Norman Stewart did back in the 1930’s.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 14, 1930, p.2.
Mr. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul, who has done so much to explore the alpine region beyond the Forbidden Plateau, has put mountaineers still further in his debt by climbing Alexandra Peak from Circle [Circlet] Lake and exploring the country in between. He took with him David Guthrie and Henry Ellis. They rode as far as Croteau’s Camp and made their base at Circle Lake. It took them four days to get to and climb Alexandra Peak, but Mr. Paul thinks that with his experience, he could now make it in three days. The chief difficulty was in getting in and out of the Oyster valley and its stark bluffs. There is some very fine views and country, and for quite a little of the distance a horse can be taken. There are two peaks at Alexandra, one smaller and one greater.
By Lindsay Elms
After Adrian Paul and his party’s ascent in 1930, the surveyor Leroy Cokely set up a station on what he called the “hump” on Alexandra Peak. Then on July 11, 1934 the surveyor Norman Stewart, along with packers Dick Williams and Dan Harris climbed the peak in wet, foggy conditions, however, they left their instruments at the timberline. Two days later Stewart and William’s were back on the summit only this time they were able to take some readings but no photographs. Stewart returned again on July 17 and 18 to obtain more readings and that was followed by three days of rain. Finally, on July 22 and 23 Stewart took his last readings from the two summit stations (Alexandra NE and SE) before heading back to Circlet Lake. However, while on the summit of Alexandra Peak on the 23 Stewart was able to see William Moffat, another surveyor, on the summit of Mount Albert Edward. Although it is probable that there were other parties who visited Alexandra Peak, there are no recorded ascents again until the Labour Day weekend of September 1964 when the Comox District Mountaineering Club and Nanaimo’s Island Mountain Ramblers combined for a three daytrip. They accessed the mountain from the Oyster River and on the second day Otto Winnig, Ron Facer and Mike Stout separated from the group and choose their own route eventually meeting the others, Syd Watts, Don Apps et al, on the summit. Today Alexandra Peak is no longer climbed from Circlet Lake the way Adrian Paul and Norman Stewart did back in the 1930’s.
The Thumb Is Difficult
The smaller is like a thumb and the larger like a double fist. The smaller is so steep and difficult as Arrowsmith with quite a little rock work but there are good handholds. It can only be climbed form this side, on two other sides it is sheer and on the other side it overhangs. The bigger peak is not difficult. From the top of Alexandra a wide vista of the glaciers and peaks off Buttle’s Lake reveals itself. Many very interesting peaks and alpine country come into view that are very tempting for the explorer. The top of one peak looks like a tennis court, so level is it, forming the top of a very steep mountain. Gradually as the climbers penetrate into this country trails will be mapped out. The pioneer always has to do the hard climbing and the hard work for others to follow: but his is the joy of penetrating into virgin territory.
At Croteau Camp
Those who are going into Forbidden Plateau are enjoying just the right weather. The hills are still covered with flowers and the water in the lakes is unbelievably warm for bathing. Registrants at the Hotel Croteau have come from: Victoria, Sandwick, Vancouver, Courtenay, Comox, Langford, Saskatoon, Cumberland, Bevan, Nanaimo, Hollywood, Fresno, Beverly Hills and Seattle.
Hikers Climb Mount Kusam
Sayward People Get Magnificent View
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 21, 1930, p.1.
Sayward, Aug. 16—During the past week or two, separate parties have scaled the heights of Mount Kusam [Hkusam Mountain], overlooking Johnston Straits, obtaining from the peak a splendid panorama view of the northern end of the island. Messrs. D. McDonald, D. Dixon and Leslie Kay, of the A. & L. Logging Co., left early Sunday morning reaching the peak in the afternoon. The weather was perfectly clear and they obtained to the north a view as far as Queen Charlotte Sound, and south as far as Powell River. Islands and inland channels across to the mainland formed a perfect picture, while numerous peaks and lakes to the west across the breadth of the island completed a delightful panorama. A second party consisting of visiting ladies and gentlemen accompanied by local residents, left one morning at 6 a.m. and reached the summit about six hours later. Haze or smoke somewhat obscured the view, but the party left a white banner on the peak as a mark of their prowess. The return trip was made in the record time of around three hours.
Entertain Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 24, 1930, p.6.
Mr. and Mrs. C. [Claude] L. Harrison entertained members the members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday afternoon [August 23] at their home in Uplands. About forty attended and the time was pleasantly passed wandering around the attractive garden and discussing with Mr. Harrison, the outings convenor, the forthcoming season’s programme, which will open with a three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills next week-end. The reception rooms were beautiful with flowers, the tea table, at which Mrs. K. [Kenneth]M. Chadwick and Mrs. Hugh Mackenzie presided, being decorated with a great bowl of phlox in all pastel shades.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 28, 1930, p.2.
At last, the flood of local people, who have been intending to go into the Forbidden Plateau this season, is in full state. They have allowed the long night and fine visibility of July and early August to go by without taking their chance: but September may be fine and clear, though the days are too short for hiking. Mr. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul and Mr. Arthur Leighton, of Nanaimo, have been in again, Mr. Leighton to revisit the scenes of the old Alpine camp and Mr. Paul to do some more exploring along the Oyster River canyon. Two or three well-known naturalists have been in and the flora of the Plateau will soon be well known. They include Mr. R.A. Cummings of Vancouver, and Mr. Robt. Connell of Victoria, who writes for the Sunday Victoria papers, and Mr. Tom Stewart of Comox. Mr. Connell climbed and much enjoyed Mt. Washington, some time ago. Quite a large party of Royston people have been seeing its beauties for the first time, including Mr. Chas. Simms. On Sunday the Courtenay council will make an official visit to the watershed and incidentally see the Plateau. They will stay there till Wednesday. On the Saturday and the Sunday several other parties will go in, and the Hotel Croteau will be very busy indeed. It is now getting to the end of the season and any who wish to see the mountain park, would be well advised to hurry.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 4, 1930, p.2.
The civic party was very lucky to get such good weather, for after August has passed its meridian, weather in the Plateau is uncertain. The trail is very good as far as Camp 6, beyond, it is too wet and full of roots for very good going. The trail gang Messrs. Radford, Phil Ryan, and C. Burchell, left last week, the grant for the year being exhausted. Mr. W.A. [Adrian] B. Paul has cut a trail to Mount Arthur [Jutland Mountain]. This height had no name before, and as Mr. Paul’s name [incorrect], and his eldest born and Mr. Leighton’s of Nanaimo (who accompanied him on the first scaling of this peak) is Arthur, so it has been called. He brought horses in from Circle [Circlet] Lake over a well-blazed trail to an altitude of 5,000 feet. It is an easy climb and there are one or two pleasing lakes and meadows and amphitheatres on the way.
Gradually this part of the Vancouver Island is being mapped. Mr. [Alex] Gunning has explored it geologically for the Dominion Government and Mr. W. Regan has cruised it for timber for the E. & N. Land Department, its owners. When a motor road runs to Croteau’s Camp and Circle Lake, thousands will come here, but for those who trod its early trails and made them, the glamor will have gone. For these however, as the unknown becomes the known, there are miles of alpine meadow and blue lakes to explore for years to come.
Mr. Eugene Croteau’s camp has more than justified itself. It is within the Plateau country and situated on a lovely lake at the foot of rugged Mount Elma. Just at the back of the camp a most perfect panorama of the great peaks to the west and south can be seen. To the end of August, 145 people had stayed and passed through the camp. Where there was one last year there will be a dozen next. It is a good beginning. Before more people come in, freighting needs to be better organized and the trail improved west of Camp 6. We move surely, if slowly. Perhaps, what the civic party sees and experiences this week, will assist.
Mr. Ben Hughes has stumbled on a quicker and easier way to reach the great corridor of rock that leads to the approach to Mount Albert Edward. Following Mr. Paul’s blazed trail till it begins to drop down hill to the first lake, then strike sharply uphill. It is well blazed to the tree line and “duck-stoned” [a duck or duck-stone is a pile of rocks that have a “beak” pointing in the direction of the trail] beyond. Save for one short rock-slide, a sure-footed cayuse could go up all the way.
Earthquake Sacred Indians
New Theory Of Why Forbidden Plateau Was Taboo
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 11, 1930, p.1 & 6.
That the Indians were caught by an earthquake whilst in the interior of the island and left it never to go back, is Mr. Robt. Connell’s idea of why the region is called the Forbidden Plateau. He writes in the Victoria Times of the place to which he has just made a visit. Apart altogether from their botany and geology there is a wonderful charm about these elevated regions of low heath plants. Twice within the last day or two I have been asked, “What is there to see when you get there?” It is a question not easy to answer because even the finest mountain scenery makes no appeal to some people. I have heard the Rockies quite seriously described as “just heaps of dirt.” And appreciation of alpine heights is of quite recent growth. I should be inclined to say the reward of the visitor to the Forbidden Plateau or any other region about the upper level of trees is one that’s compound of several things. Picturesque scenery is one, mountain air is another. A certain sense of freedom and apartness from the world of men is quite a distinct feature of the enjoyment of many. “There’s the wind on the heath brother; if I could only feel that, I would gladly live for ever,” said Jasper Petulengaro to Lavengro, and that is one way of putting the feeling I mean. Then there is a wonderful freshness and cleanness about the alpine regions. Someone has said that Scotland looks like a wet pebble, a statement that expresses the aspect of our own hills and valleys and mountain sides where the snow lingers everywhere far into the summer, and in places never disappears. You know how bright and sharp are the colors of the little stones where the waves wash them and how gray and disappointing, they are apt to be when dry; such is the difference between the lowland and the highlands. The bright tints of the mountain flowers, too, are singularly attractive, and are due, no doubt, to the brilliant sunshine of the short summer; perhaps also to the setting in which they grow, a powerful factor in matters of color.
A Sink Hole And Its History
Unwilling as we are to leave our elevated plateau—for that is what the summit of Strata Mountain really is: a block of old land surface—we have to leave the “bonnie purple heather” and descend. Remembering our sink-hole we made our way in its direction. At the base of the steepest part of the mountain side we entered a somewhat hummocky region and, in a few minutes, stood by the side of the great orifice which I have called a “sink-hole” though not entirely propriety, since the term is generally restricted to the openings found in the surface of limestone regions through which the rainwater drains away into subterranean channels. Openings of this kind are due to the dissolving influence of water on the lime-bearing rock. But the hole on whose edge we now stood wondering was excavated in shales. Its approximate depth was twenty feet, width fifteen feet, and length thirty. The sides were irregular, showing in places the relatively smooth sides of fractures in the soft material. The bottom, towards which the sides very slightly sloped contained only a little broken shale. A few plants, notably some still-flowering valerian and ferns, had made a start in one or two places, but the sides of the sink-hole were almost wholly bare of everything except moss and lichen, and these not in any great abundance. At the end of the cavity a narrow fissure, a foot or so wide, could be seen passing away under the light covering of heath vegetation.
An Earthquake Fissure
We were standing by an earthquake fissure of which the sink-hole was part, and the broken shale that had once filled the great cavity had disappeared into the depths below. To the north we found the fissure like a military trench extending for some distance, but unlike the work of human hands, the trench in places showed deeper crevices, whose bottom we could not see. This main fissure we followed until we found it cutting across the granodiorite which had intruded into the Cretaceous rocks. Here the fissure was more cleanly cut, and, in its wider places it was filled with great pieces of broken and shattered rock between which we found gaping holes that extended far below. Several parallel fissures were seen, some that approached at varying angles. In one place the fissure across a mass of granodiorite showed evidence of faulting, one side being a little over five feet. That there had been horizontal displacement in a north-south direction. In an article three years ago, it was said the Forbidden Plateau “derives its name from ancient Indian legends and superstitions. It was known to Indians and looked upon with a sort of awe. The suspicion seems to have been that it was forbidden land, probably haunted by spirits of the dead. Perhaps the red snow had something to do with its isolation, or the shapes of the grotesque trees at twilight. In any event the Indians shunned it like the plague.”
Indians Dread Explained
Now, as we looked at one after another of these openings and fissures, some open and exposed, others concealed from the unwary traveler by the low vegetation, the explanation of the Indian dread of the plateau seemed reasonably plain. At some not far distant time Indians, probably hunters, were surprised on the plateau by a great earthquake that fissured the rocks and shattered them with all the dread accompaniments of seismic disturbance. Terrified by the roar of the earth movement and the crash of the splintered and falling rock, they fled precipitately, and the story they told in their lodges of the people effectively tabooed the plateau to Indians thereafter. Such is the interpretation and explanation of the plateau’s title of “Forbidden,” based on the evidences of rock disturbance in the district. To it I have suggested at the time the name of “Devil’s Playground” be given, but since then I have thought that it would be less commonplace to call it “Goblin’s Playground,” the goblin’s being the malicious spirits who haunt dark and hidden places. As I shall show in telling of another visit to this off-the-beaten-track area, such a name well fits the strange and weird character of the terrain.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 11, 1930, p.2.
Every time I return from the climb into the alpine lakes and meadows of Vancouver Island known as the Forbidden Plateau since December 1927, when the first article on it appeared in the Vancouver Sunday Province—ever since I wonder when my memory has faded a little—if I had not been guilty of exaggeration. But in sober earnest, it is true. There are hundreds of heather-girt lakes. As you walk along the trail from Croteau’s Camp to Circle [Circlet] Lake, you have but to swing left or right over the heather and you will find a lake unnamed. For many years to come there will be plenty of lakes to take name from those who have first explored and camped upon them and peaks to be won. A board should be created to see that such names are not too commonplace. Is there are any delight greater to the mountaineer than blazing a new trail? The other day I followed the blazes of a man who had scaled and named a new peak: but very soon I grew tired of following any trail but my own, and struck straight up the escarpment to the heights above. Down came the clouds and I was isolated from the rest of the world in its soft folds. It was weird to hear the dull boom of distant avalanches like distant firing of big guns in the high hills through the clouds. There was nothing to do but—being alone and without trail—to blaze the back trail carefully. Each blaze must be perfectly visible from the last blaze, one step to right or left, and the friendly spot of white is hid by trunk of tree or branch. The blazes must be close or they will be lost to the rolling vapor. Up and up into the mist. There is no visibility, no sense of direction, save that of gravity and compass. Presently the trees are so small they give no surface for brazing. Then what? Loose splinters or rock piled one on the other, and known as “duck on a rock” with a pointer for the direction of the downward trail. They must be close together for, at a distance of more than a hundred feet, they merge into the general grayness. Up and up. The swirling vapor clears a little. On the rocks suddenly appear two ptarmigan, white winged as to neck.
The Friendly Ptarmigan
They cluck unconcernedly as I stalk them with the camera. At ten feet they decided that this elongated slab of porphyry is altogether too inquisitive and they suddenly glide with spread wings and fluffed feathers to strike my knees and then settle ten feet away, where I snapped them. Not altogether alone in the world even here. After all, man cannot be altogether a gargoyle, if birds have less fear of him than a sparrow hawk nor can his smell be so malodorous if the bear scarcely troubles to amble out of the way—before they know us. Then indeed, we are dread. But the natives of the Forbidden Plateau may continue to be friendly without danger, for it is a game reserve.
The Mist Breaks
Ah! Suddenly in the folds of mist above, there is a break and a patch of snow shows through. There is a diffused glow in the mist and a warmth in the air. The vapor rolls forward and back but slowly the veil is rent, and I’m back in the solid world once more. I find that I am on the giant causeway which leads up and up to Mount Albert Edward, the highest peak of the southern island. On either side great cliffs fall to brawling streams and lakes, green with glacial silt. I can see the great sweep of the Mount Albert Edward escarpment with its breast of snow, and down below, the hundreds of little streams tinkling down its face to form the blue lakes of the Oyster River. The familiar outline of the two-mile long snow-crowned Mount Albert Edward approach is there and since I have no mind to scale that peak again, I turn back and follow my row of little cairns down hill—guides all so necessary now in the open glorious sunshine, where you can see the contour of the country from snow peak to Gulf of Georgia. But before I go, I lie flat and haul myself to the very edge of the causeway. It is well I did for it falls sheer to the scree a thousand feet below, and vertigo may have swayed me over to crash to the eternal silence.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 18, 1930, p.2.
The Hotel Croteau will close for the season after a very successful first year. Approximately 200 people have been registered at the camp this year, which is an excellent start. The weather proved fine to the very last. Mr. [Alex] Gunning, and his party, who have been completing the geological survey of the mid-island came down at the week-end and the trail will be deserted till next year. Guests at the camp have come from: Nanaimo, Comox, Sandwick, Courtenay, Cumberland, Vancouver, Victoria, Duncan, Jeune Landing and Newport City
Alpine Club Climb Mount Tzouhalem
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday October 9, 1930, p.4.
Mount Tzouhalem was the destination of thirteen members of the Vancouver Island branch of the Alpine Club of Canada who joined last Saturday’s expedition. As usual C. [Claude] L. Harrison, outings convenor of the section, took charge, and the summit was made in good time, members leaving the city early in the morning by motor car. Owing to mist there was not much of a view, but the climb proved highly enjoyable, particularly to the more ardent mountaineers, who revel in a certain amount of rock work and other difficulties. The next expedition will be to Bluff Mountain, an all-day trip to take place on October 18. Dinner at the Sooke Harbor Hotel will be the concluding feature of the day.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 23, 1930, p.2.
Stuart Wood and Gordon Blackhall went up to Mount Becher cabin last week-end with a horse and a load of “shakes.” They did fine work and all who use the cabin this winter are indebted to them. They finished the second cabin and when the windows are set in it will be snug as the one that has been in constant use for several winters. They also covered in one side of the passage between the two and started on the other. One days more work would make the whole cabin ship-shape and snug for winter. Two windows and a door will have to be taken up and hung and a few more “shakes”: when that is done there will be double the accommodation and twice the comfort of last year for the week-end parties that have provided so much sport for the young people of Courtenay.
Honors Officer of Alpine Club
S.H. Mitchell, Retiring Secretary of Parent Society, Recalls History—Club Was Born In 1906
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday November 27, 1930, p.20.
Interesting history was revived last evening when at a delightful reception given in the honor by Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson at her home, 1070 Amphion Street, S. [Stanley] H. Mitchell, who has just retired from the secretaryship of the Alpine Club of Canada, reviewed some of the events in the record of the organization. In addition to the small group of active and life members of the parent society there were present about fifty members of the Vancouver Island section, anxious to show their appreciation of Mr. Mitchell’s long and efficient services with the Alpine Club. Mr. Hudson and Dr. Hudson welcomed the guests, and just before supper Lindley Crease, an active member to the parent society, introduced Mr. Mitchell, with his brief testimony to his great popularity in the organization, whether in Summer camp or Winter-time office.
Inception Of Idea
Mr. Mitchell recalled the inception of the idea of an Alpine Club of Canada. This dated back to 1905, when Mr. A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, of Sidney, B.C., had written to Mr. McPherson and Sir William Whyte of the Canadian Pacific Railway, requesting passes for delegates who were hoping to go to Winnipeg to discuss the question of formation of an organization of the kind. This meeting was held in March, 1906, and was so successful that the first camp was held in the Rockies that year. The following year was the jubilee of the English Alpine Club, and Mr. Wheeler, who had been created the director of the Alpine Club of Canada, had gone to the Old Country to address the English club. His reception was enthusiastic, and in 1909, when the Canadian Alpine Club met at Lake O’Hara, twenty members of the English club had attended, nearly all becoming life members. The Alpine Club on Canada grew and flourished, and later affiliated with the English Alpine Club. Mr. Mitchell briefly recalled some of the notable Summer camps in the Rockies, and also referred to the famous Mount Logan expedition, sponsored by the organization. The journal of the Alpine Club of Canada was a widely-read publication, and through it much correspondence with famous climbers in all parts of the world and of every nationality is carried on.
One of the most remarkable letters received recently was from a correspondent in the United States who was intending to write an article on the mountains of North America and wished the secretary of the Alpine Club of Canada, to send him “all information about the Canadian Rockies.” This said the speaker, was a rather large order. In addition to the hostess and the guests of honor, four other active members of the Alpine Club of Canada, were present at last night’s gathering, being Miss Sara Spencer and W. [William] H. Dougan, Lindley Crease and James White. A.O. Wheeler, honorary president of the parent society, and for many years’ director, sent regrets that he was unable to be present.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 27, 1930, p.2.
You will remember what kind of day last Sunday was; a clammy, foggy, dank, dark day. On the same day at the same time, on Mount Becher, the sun shone brilliantly out of a cloudless sky for twelve hours. Twelve hours of golden sunshine on the snow! The rosy spears of dawn shot up from behind the castellated front of the Cascades, blue black in the first ray. The peaks were strangely foreshortened until the light grew, when their feet and lower slopes were seen to be shrouded in a vast white sea. Roughly following the Gulf of Georgia over three thousand feet below this vast sea stretched as far as the eye could reach—we were above the clouds. Underneath lay all the din and clamor of the world. One was aware of a stirring of pity and amazement that anyone could exist under such a blanket of vapor. Nothing but previous knowledge could convince a spectator standing in the serene silence of the upper air that that gigantic covering furrowed white was not as substantial as the earth or sea. It appeared so very still, so very ponderable. If you have seen a great frozen lake, the snow on which has been tortured by the wind into innumerable riffles, then you have some conception of the top of the great blanket of cloud and fog. Capes of wooded mountain peaks crept into the great white mass just as they ran into the sea underneath. It had been a mild night and the sun shone all day. There was no nip in the air but it was clear and sweet and exhilarating and so it stayed all day, while down below those others crept about in a clinging gray fog.
The cabin has grown until it is now something to be proud of. The first necessity is now more stove pipe for the two sleeping cabins and the wood shed and kitchen. Trevor Davis et al, did noble work and a little more shingling will complete the woodwork. There are two stoves up there but they lack stove pipe. Sid Williams is preparing another oil-drum which will go up on somebodies willing back. But stove pipe there must be and that at once, or one of these merry week-end parties will find themselves out of luck as the pipe in the first cabin may fall to pieces any day. The visitors book shows that there is scarcely a week-end that a party of young people don’t go up to the cabin and if another gang of hunters with no knowledge of the fine hospitality of the mountaineers does not strike the cabin and abuse its privileges, there is there at all times warmth and food. It is the law of the woodsman to use what he finds at his necessity, of wood and food: but he will re-place them for the next need.
There are many other little comforts that the Comox Mountaineering Club would like to provide if those who use the cabin would pay their fees—only two dollars a year: Dr. [Frank] Moore will be delighted to see you. Very soon now the big toboggan, which was given by Messrs. [William] Douglas and [Alfred] Searle last year, should go up the hill: the snow will soon be deep and crisp enough for it. And there are many who are going to don skills. The trail last Sunday was excellent to the first cabin: beyond it had to be broken, but it was never more than three feet deep and the going easy.
Mountaineers Plan To Scale Albert Edward
Alpine And B.C. Mountaineering Club To Participate In Island Climb
Reported in the Victoria Daily Times Monday December 8, 1930, p.3.
Courtenay, Dec. 8—An executive meeting of the Courtenay and Comox District Mountaineering Club was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. G. [Geoffrey] B. Capes on Friday [December 5] evening. A report was received from the cabin committee which stated that the recent working party had made very great improvements. A three-room cabin is now available for climbers. The thanks of the club are to be conveyed to the Central Builders Supply Company, the Builders Supply Co. and Tarbell’s Limited for the donation of windows and new stovepipes.
Plans for the formation of a ski section were discussed and an attempt will be made to scale Mount Albert Edward on skis this winter. Members of the Alpine and B.C. Mountaineering clubs will be invited to participate. The Forbidden Plateau was described as ideal for cross-country work on skis.
Alpine Club Holds Annual
A.O. Wheeler Re-Elected Chairman Of Local Section—Past Year Successful
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday December 11, 1930, p.5.
Arthur O. Wheeler, of Sidney, was re-elected chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at its annual meeting, held last night [Wednesday 10] at the Y.M.C.A. Other officers and executive for the following year are as follows: Vice-chairman, W. [William] H. Dougan; secretary, K. [Kenneth] M. Chadwick; treasurer, Gordon Cameron (all re-elected by acclamation); committee, Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson, Mrs. E. Posgate, R. [Robert] D. McCaw and C. [Claude] L. Harrison. The meeting was well attended, and reports of the chairman, A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler; the secretary, K.M. Chadwick; the treasurer, Gordon Cameron; and the chairman outings committee, C.L. Harrison, occupied the major part of the business session. Dr. Hudson also gave an interesting account of her trip to the Purdue memorial hut, which she visited with some other members of the Alpine Club who attended the annual camp at Maligne Lake, Jasper Park, last Summer.
Mr. Wheeler, who was in the Rockies during one of the most active periods of the local section, of which he is chairman, congratulated Mt. Harrison, director of outings, on the very successful season’s programme, and expressed gratification at the increased membership, lively interest, and improved knowledge of mountaineering craft which had been developed during the year. Later he expressed the hope that continued instruction in the use of rope and ice-axe would be stressed during the coming year. The meeting was reminded of the parent organization’s recent decision to raise the subscribing membership fee, and Mr. Wheeler also referred to last Summer’s camp at Maligne Lake, especially mentioning the fact that Hon. R. Randolph Bruce and Miss Mackenzie had honored the gathering with their presence. Next Summer’s camp, it was announced, would be at the head of Prospectors’ Valley, close to Lake O’Hara.
A total membership of 108 in the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada was reported by the secretary. A resume of the club’s activities for the year showed that four camps had been held at the Lake of the Seven Hills, and other camps at Leech River and Burgoyne Bay, with a sub-camp on Empress Mountain in July. An average of twenty members had attended each of the nine other expeditions. The treasurers report showed a satisfactory balance on hand, and the club made a grant from this to the Lake of the Seven Hills hut fund, and passed a small honorarium to the sectional secretary, Mr. Chadwick, in appreciation of his services during the year. S. [Stanley] H. Mitchell, secretary of the Alpine Club of Canada since its inception in 1906, was welcomed to the meeting, and votes of thanks were passed to Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. James White of Sidney, and Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson and Mr. Hudson, for hospitality to the members of the section; to the chairman; and to Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. [Charlotte] Hadow, and Gordon Cameron in connection with the sectional camp operations. Mr. Harrison’s informal report as outings chairman touched on some of the harder climbs of the season just ended, with special reference to that up Mount Maxwell, Salt Spring Island, and the expedition to the canyons on the north side of the Leech.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday December 11, 1930, p.2.
At a meeting of the Comox and District Mountaineering Club at the home of the Secretary-Treasurer (Mr. Geoffrey B. Capes) on Friday night, some matters of interest to climbers were discussed. There is still owing a hundred dollars on the cabin at Mount Becher and it was felt that it was not right that a number of people should take out a great deal of enjoyment out of that cabin without helping to get rid of the debt. It was decided to charge a fee of fifty cents a night to non-members and at the same time the membership fee was reduced to one dollar so that the use of the cabin to those who go up fairly frequently will be very moderate indeed. Climbers desiring to join should see Mr. Capes, who is now secretary. Mr. Ben Hughes reported that as far as the actual construction of the cabin went, very little more required to be done, but stove pipe was needed—lots of it—for both sleeping cabins and also for the kitchen. Also, sacking and empty sacks to finish the bunks in the second cabin. Votes of thanks were passed to Messrs. Tarbells, for stove pipe, and to the Courtenay, and Central Builders for windows for the cabin.
The president Mr. C. [Clinton] S. Wood, is anxious to hear of anyone who is going to take up skiing. Once a man gets a little expert on the skis’ he can make fine time and get a great deal of enjoyment out of them. The big toboggan is still at Dr. [Frank] Moore’s office, but it will certainly be taken up soon now.
Some of the members are taking a great deal of pleasure out of reading a book in the Courtenay library, “The making of a Mountaineer”. They find it intensely interesting and full of very useful tips.
Alpinists In Camp During the Yuletide
Eleven Members of Local Section Join Three Days’ Outing at Sooke—Experience Perfect Weather Throughout
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday December 30, 1930, p.4.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada has just completed a very fine advertisement for Victoria’s Christmas weather by holding a three-day [December 27/28/29] outdoor camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, in the Sooke District. During the three days, eleven members visited the camp, the maximum in the campus any single night being ten. Although a gradual thickening sheet of ice covered the lake, the weather was so perfect, with brilliant sunshine during the days and windless moonlit skies by night, that sleeping bags proved quite comfortable and the regular evening bonfires were greatly enjoyed. Members busied themselves with details of camp construction, and before camp broke yesterday afternoon, had completed a large stone incinerator to dispose of the rubbish which invariably accumulates during any holiday gathering. The only animal visitors about the place during the three days were the whiskey jacks which made friends with the members last Summer, and some of the ruby-crowned kinglets. The Alpine Club Lake of the Seven Hills lies at an altitude of 1,450 feet, and a pass nearly 2,000 feet in altitude is traversed to reach it. From the latter the Olympic Mountains at the present time are a beautiful sight, covered with snow.
Chairman – Arthur Wheeler.
Vice-chairman – William Dougan.
Secretary – Kenneth Chadwick.
Treasurer – Gordon Cameron.
Outings Committee – Claude Harrison.
Hut and property – Claude Harrison.
Entertainment – Robert McCaw.
New membership – Irene Bastow Hudson.
Photographic – Charlotte Hadow.
Press cuttings – Cyril Chave.
February 7 – Half-day club trip to Mt. Blinkhorn
February 22 – All-day trip to the Lake of the Seven Hills
March 7 – Half-day trip to Mt. Newton
March 22 – Club trip to Mt. Prevost
March 27 –Club’s 25th annual banquet in the Princess Louise dinning room at the Empress Hotel
April 3, 4, 5, 6 – Club Easter camp to the Lake of the Seven Hills
April 18 – Club trip to Mt. Hood and Mt. Jeffrey (Malahat)
May 2 – Day-trip to Mt. Jocelyn
May 16 – Day-trip to Mt. Work
May 23, 24, 25 – Empire Day week-end trip to Leech River
June 13, 14 – Two-day camp to Mt. Maxwell, Saltspring Island
June 21 – Club trip to Mt. Maxwell, Saltspring Island
June 27 to July 6 – Ten-day Summer camp to the Lake of the Seven Hills
September 5, 6, 7 – Three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills
September 19 – Club half-day trip to Mt. Blinkhorn
September 25 – Club trips to Bluff Mountain and Leech River. Dinner at Belvedere Hotel
October 11 – Club trip to Mt. Prevost
October 24 – Half-day club trip to Mt. Helmcken
October 31 – Club trip to Mt. McGuire and Halloween dinner at Belvedere Hotel
November 7, 8, 9 – Three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills
November 21 – Half-day club trip to Mt. Finlayson, Southwest Face
November 29 – Club trip to Mt. Wood
“Camp Fire News” ACCVI newsletter introduced with Mrs. Sylvia Holland as editor.
Section members who attended the ACC annual summer camp in Prospectors Valley: Arthur Wheeler, Guy Shaw [Mt. Hungabee], J.W. Hay, Tom Goodlake [Wenkchemna Mount No. 10] and one other member.
Winter Sports On Mt. Becher
Cabin Is Popular Headquarters for Young People
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday January 1, 1931, p.1.
The mountaineering cabin, which looks down at an altitude of 4500 feet from Mount Becher, on the Comox Valley, has been continuously occupied since the last day of Christmas week and will be is use right up to the New Year. The idea of winter sports is appealing very vigorously to the youth of Courtenay. The first contingent went up the hill from Bevan on Saturday morning. They found a foot bridge built over the Puntledge River not far from the site of the old swing bridge which was cut down. This was a Christmas gift from Mr. Stevens and the Public Works Department and as it cuts off half an hour’s tedious tramp among stumps, it was greatly appreciated. The first to break trail since new snow fell, were the Ellis brothers from Comox, guided by Pat Ellis. They went to within a mile of the cabin, but having to get back the same day, turned back some distance from the foot of Breakneck Hill. The next up was Miss Alice Wood and Misses Finch, and they did some fine work in breaking through to the cabin. Miss Wood was one of the two girls to first climb Mount Becher, but she has not had much experience in mountain climbing since and they all did very well. There followed them “Wee” Tribe and Stuart Wood, loaded down with packs, skis, snow-shoes and the big toboggan. With them was Arthur Wood, one of the youngest members of the club. In the afternoon Messrs. Clinton S. Wood and Ben Hughes went up and at night Trevor Davis, and on Saturday night there were nine in the two huts. Sunday was a lovely day, all bright, cheerful tints, the white of the snow, the blue of the sky, the green of the trees and the silver and gold of the brilliant sun. It was a gray day in Courtenay, but the cabin was above and looking down on a cloud bank much furrowed by a keen wind. The big, new toboggan received its first baptism of snow on a short but very thrilly little slide at the back of the cabin. At noon, on Sunday, arrived Trevor Davis and Sid Williams packing the big drum heater, which Sid carried as far as the first cabin some time ago. It was tested right away and in future the second sleeping cabin will be as snug as the first, and there will be plenty of stoves and pipe left for a cooking stove in the closed-in entrance.
A Big New Year’s Party
Tom Hughes and Jack Gregson left on Monday morning, the forerunners of the big party of Anglican Juniors and A.Y.P.A.’s that are going up for the New Year. They will make everything ready for the Wednesday trip, when twenty young people will leave the Parish Hall at six or seven for the climb in the moonlight. Tom Hughes and Jack Gregson will come down to guide them to the top, as there are some confusing spots in the trail, where too many trails are available for those who are not intimately acquainted with the Becher Trail “Wee” Tribe and Stuart Wood stayed up all week making a toboggan slide and skiing. From 20 to 30 people will greet the New Year from the top of Mount Becher if they get up there in time.
Alpine Club Issues Year’s Committees
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday January 21, 1931, p.3.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada has just issued a complete list of officers and committees for the current year, these being as follows:
Chairman Arthur O. Wheeler; Vice-chairman, William H. Dougan; secretary, Kenneth M. Chadwick; treasurer, Gordon Cameron; executive committee, Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson, Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Claude L. Harrison and Robert D. McCaw. Committees are as follows: Hut and property—C.L. Harrison, (chairman), W.H. Dougan, Gordon Cameron, H.B. Jones, Miss Sara Spencer, Mrs. Charlotte J.B. Hadow and K.M. Chadwick (secretary-treasurer). Outings—Claude L. Harrison (chairman), W.H. Dougan, Thomas Goodlake, Arthur Haynes, Miss Aylard, Miss J. Ethel M. Bruce, Miss [Janet] Bell, Mrs. C.J.B. Hadow, Miss Marjorie Haynes. Entertainment—Robert D. McCaw (chairman), Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mrs. Bernice Chave, Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Miss Sara Spencer and Miss Catherine Wollaston. New membership—Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson (chairman), William H. Dougan, Lindley Crease, Claude L. Harrison, Gordon Cameron, Mrs. Sylvia Holland, Miss Erminie Bass. Photographic—Mrs. Charlotte J.B. Hadow, Kenneth M. Chadwick. Press cutting—Cyril Chave.
Alpine Club Plans Trip
Big Programme of Climbs Drawn Up For Spring And Summer—Will Explore New Island District
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday January 23, 1931, p.3.
The Spring and Summer programme of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada was be drawn up at a meeting of the outings committee held last evening at the office of Claude L. Harrison, outings convener. With the experience of several very successful past seasons behind them, the committee was able to make up a varied schedule of half-day, whole-day and several-day outings, the field to be covered ranging from Mt. Maxwell (Saltspring Island), and Mt. Prevost (near Duncan), on the north, to the Leech River country on the south, with a number of hitherto unvisited hills included. Half-day outings will all take place on Saturdays, leaving bastion Square at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The question of transportation will be discussed in fuller detail later, but a resolution was heartily approved by the committee yesterday asking for a formal declaration to be drawn up and signed by members cars, such declaration absolving the owner and driver of the car from any responsibility toward his passengers in the event of accident.
The Spring and Summer programme of climbs has the following details:
February 7 (Saturday), Mt. Blinkhorn, half-day trip, leaving Bastion Square at 2 p.m.
February 22 (Sunday), all-day trip to Lake of the Seven Hills (time of leaving optional).
March 7 (Saturday), Mt. Newton, half-day.
March 22 (Sunday) all-day trip to Mt. Prevost, leaving Bastion Square at 9 a.m.
April 3, 4, 5, 6, Easter camp Lake of the Seven Hills.
April 18 (Saturday), Mt. Hood and Mt. Jeffrey (Malahat), leaving Bastion Square at 8 a.m.
May 2 (Saturday), Mt. Jocelyn, all-day trip, leaving city at 9 a.m.
May 16 (Saturday), Mt. Work (all-day).
May 23, 24, 25, Empire Day week-end trip to Leech River
June 13 and 14, Mt. Maxwell, (Saltspring Island), two-day camp leaving by early ferry on Saturday morning and returning by ferry on Sunday evening.
June 27 to July 6, Ten-day Summer camp at Lake of the Seven Hills.
The annual dinner will take place some time in the last week of March, the date to be definitely announced in due course. Up-Island members will be specially interested in the plan to hold a three-day Labor Day week-end [September 5-7] camp on Coronation Mountain.
Hikers Enjoy Sports on Mount Becher
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 3, 1931, p.8.
At last the hikers managed to find a brief spell of fine weather in which to enjoy the sports which are offered on Mount Becher, but which have been below par till now on account of the warm, cloudy weather. On Saturday [January 29] a party of nine made the trip up in four and three-quarter hours. They found no snow below the Look-out and although it was soft and travelling hard up to Anderson’s Cabins, the trail was excellent the rest of the way, there being a hard crust on the snow. Instead of spending the evening playing cards, as is custom during bad stormy weather (which must be frequent by the look of the dog-eared pack of cards up there) the party had a marvellous time tobogganing in the moonlight. The next morning they took a stroll to the top and there discovered Lady-birds hibernating in the crevices of the rock by the handfuls. About eight o’clock Bill Bell arrived in camp from his morning stroll up the mountain. Those in the party were Misses Margaret Galloway, Ruth Thomas, Chrissie Carwithen, Ruby Colwell and Jack Gregson, Jack Avent, Bud Carwithen, Fred Adey and Bob Hodgins. Apart from numerous bruises and a skinned nose the party had a wonderful time and are determined to make it a weekly event if possible.
Alpine Club to Hold Anniversary Dinner Tonight
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 28, 1931, p.8.
The annual dinner of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held tonight in the Princess Louise dinning-room of the Empress Hotel. Toasts, short addresses, songs and several motion pictures of subjects of interest to Alpinists will make up the programme. The annual dinner here coincides with the annual dinner in other sections of the organization throughout Canada, celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the club.
Hut to Open Next Month
Interesting Announcement Is Made at Annual Dinner of Alpine Club Here—Founders Bring Congratulations
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 29, 1931, p.6.
Appropriately coinciding with the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Alpine Club of Canada, announcement was made at the annual dinner of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held at the Empress Hotel last evening, [March 28] that the hut at the club camp, Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke, will be finished and ready for opening by the end of next month. This was good news to members gathered in the Princess Louise dinning-room, Arthur O. Wheeler, founder, first director, and now honorary president of the parent body, as well as president of the Vancouver Island section, was in the chair, and Claude L. Harrison, outings convener, made the interesting announcement concerning the hut following the presentation by William H. Dougan of a beautiful Alpine Club flag which is to fly over the new cabin. This generous gift was enthusiastically received. It is about ten feet long by four and a half feet deep, and is composed of bands of the Alpine Club colors, green, representing the forest; grey, representing the rock, and white, representing snow, and woven into the green band at the bottom are the letters “A.C.C.” In accepting the banner on behalf of the club, Mr. Harrison made the pronouncement about the opening of the new hut, which will have a lounge twenty feet by thirty feet, kitchen and storeroom, and wide front veranda. “We are singularly honored in having for the president of our section, Mr. A.O. Wheeler, founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, and it is only fitting that we should have one of the best sections and one of the best huts of the whole organization: said Mr. Harrison, who subsequently paid a very warm tribute to Mr. Dougan in moving the vote of thanks to him as the donor of the flag. The programme consisted of the customary toasts to the King and the Alpine Club of Canada, the latter being proposed by Mr. Wheeler, and responded to by Gordon Cameron; two charmingly sung solos by Mrs. R.D. McCaw; clever recitations by Miss Arabella Haynes; and Mr. Robert D. McCaw’s amusing skit on club personalities, set to the music of “Hallelujah.” To Mr. McCaw also fell the important task of leading the community singing, which included such favorites as “The More We Get Together,” and “My Complexion Lies Up In The Mountains.” Mrs. Bernice Chave presided at the piano. The closing part of the evening’s entertainment consisted of an interesting movie show, given by Kenneth M. Chadwick, the club secretary. The tables were attractively decorated with daffodils and green candles, Mrs. E.C. Posgate and Miss Catherine Wollaston having charge of this detail.
In his annual address the president, Mr. Wheeler, added just a little to the yearly message which he has sent to all sections of the organization in his capacity of honorary president, reminding the gathering that there are now eleven branches of the club which hold their annual gatherings on Founder’s Day. “We have good cause to congratulate upon the solid position we have attained, and to know that our foundations are built upon the Rocky Mountains of Canada, and so have been able to withstand all passing storms,” he stated. The members applauded when he stated that both he and Mrs. H.J. Parker, who founded the club at Winnipeg in 1906, were still hale and hearty, and had watched with interest the evolution of the society through the past twenty-five years. When the club began, the mountains still held many “first ascents” to be made, and the science of the climbing had still to be learned; today suitable new places for camps were retreating farther and farther afield, and there were few outstanding high peaks unclimbed. People sought the mountains still more eagerly, and the annual camps had become the gathering places for intensive mountain climbing. It was announced that this year’s camp would be held at the head of Prospector’s Valley, not far from Moraine Lake, a spot replete with fine climbs. There would also be open, during the first two weeks in August, and expedition from Jasper to the club’s memorial hut at the head of Penstock Creek, in the Tonquin Valley. The policy of the club to place huts at strategic points was being realized. Reference was made to the serious loss suffered by the club during the year by the death of the Hon. Senator Hewitt Bostock, John A. Kirk, M. le Baron Gabet, Brigadier-General Henry R. Gale, Dr. Cora Best, and Professor Charles Fay. These comrades had left inspiring records which would not be forgotten.
Messages of regret at their inability to be present were sent by the Hon. R.W. Bruhn, Minister of Public Works; Mr. and Mrs. J. [James] J. White, of Sidney who also sent a generous initiation for the club to spend May 18 at their Summer camp, “Killarney,” and from the officers and members of the Vancouver section. Also, of special interest was a message from the Alpine Club president, H.E. Sampson, of Regina. In his response to the toast to the Alpine Club, Mr. Gordon Cameron reviewed the objects of the club, among the points cited being the part which it played in educating Canadians to a realization of their mountain heritage; in teaching the spirit of conquest, and in developing resolution, love of exploration, exercise of freedom with discipline, appreciation of nature, and true comradeship. Mrs. Clara Wheeler started a subscription fund on behalf of the club’s new hut, which had an immediate response.
Alpine Club Enjoys Picnic
Mr. and Mrs. White Entertain Section at Lake Killarney After Climb
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday May 14, 1931, p.5.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada enjoyed its annual picnic last Saturday as the guests of Mr. and Mrs. James White, of Sidney, who for several years past have generously thrown open their lovely Summer retreat at Lake Killarney, in the shadow of Big Saanich Mountain, for the purpose. Following precedent, the days’ programme provided a day’s expedition up Big Saanich for the more agile members of the section, and supper and a campfire gathering in the evening, which on this occasion attracted about fifty people. W. [William] H. Dougan led the morning party, comprising thirteen keen climbers who left the city at 9 o’clock and returned to Killarney at 5 in the afternoon, after a very successful and enjoyable expedition to the summit of Work. In the meantime, Gordon Cameron rounded up the afternoon party and conducted them over to Heals Lake, the two parties meeting at 5:30 for supper under the trees at the beautiful Summer camp of Mr. and Mrs. White. The arrangements were, as usual, carried out in the happiest way, the tables prettily decorated with the wild flowers of the district, and the time-honored “Cameronian” pie, which is the piece de resistance of the repasts, in conspicuous place among the viands. Ex tempore speeches and some popular songs added to the cheeriness of the meal, which concluded with happily worded expressions of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. White, the hosts, who, together with the president of the section, Arthur O. Wheeler, and Mrs. Clara Wheeler, were heartily cheered. The outstanding incident of the evening campfire gathering at the lakeside was a mock trial in which Mrs. Daniels was brought before the magistrate, Mr. Wheeler, charged with failure to obey the “Stop” sign at a Sidney Road intersection. As the prosecuting attorney, Gordon Cameron was amusingly voluble, and Claude Harrison, acting for the defence, cleverly countered the charges, although the defendant was found guilty. The jury comprised of L. Bosch, Mrs. Sylvia Holland and Marjorie Haynes. Entertaining stories, songs, dancing, and piccolo selections by H. Davis rounded out the evening.
Will Photograph Winter Sports at Mount Becher
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 31, 1931, p.3.
While Victoria lays proud claim to having Summer weather the year around, and is now enjoying her high temperatures, Winter sports are in full swing at Mount Becher in the Comox district. This week Mr. W. Oliver, of the Federal Department of the Interior, Ottawa, is coming to Vancouver Island for the purpose of taking back some movies of the skiing, tobogganing and other Alpine pastimes in which the residents and tourists in the more northerly area of the Island are indulging at the present time. From Mount Becher, Mr. Oliver will go out to Port Alberni where he will be met by Mr. Claude L. Harrison, of Victoria, an ardent propagandist of the national park project on the West Coast of the Island, who will take him out to see some of the unusually interesting natural formations.
Climbing Mount Maxwell
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 21, 1931, p.6.
Piloted by Mr. Claude L. Harrison, a party of twenty-two members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada left yesterday afternoon for Salt Spring Island, with the intention of climbing Mount Maxwell this morning. The party camped for the night at Burgoyne Bay, and, weather permitting, will make the ascent early today so that they can return to Victoria this afternoon via Swartz Bay.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 2, 1931, p.1.
The admiration for our wonderful glacier in its every mood has taken such deep root in my heart that I must needs speak about it—must sing about it—must let the world know of its magnificence, but it is only a promise extracted from me by friends that these lines expressing the feelings which I have, be published. I know they fall so far short of what I’d like to say, but fortunately I know my limitations too.
By Sandwick church we take the way
That leads around to Comox Bay,
Where, with the rising tide between
A picture unsurpassed is seen.
A noble structured, God designed,
Against the purpling sky inclined.
The contour of the sunlit crest
Is likened to a Queen at rest;
High o’er this vale thy snowy form
Is nourished by the winter storm.
Where ‘neath the whiteness of thy breast
The ice of ages past is pressed.
Fit emblem of an Arctic clime,
The echo of an ancient time,
Where flakes that fell in begone storms
Are folded fast in icy arms.
Deep in the rifted rock thy feet
Are firmer set by summer heat,
As oft the sun with fiery dart
Still seeks to pierce they icy heart,
And from thy glistening side there flows
The crystal stream that Courtenay knows.
Can it be thy grottoes hide
The spirits of the restless tides?
Or is the soul of Arctic wind
Beneath thy barriers confined?
Do dusky maids by storm mists hid
Commune with warriors long since dead?
Or from aerial ships in flight
Do spirits of the past alight
To gaze across the side Plateau
Where once in life they feared to go?
Plateau Season is Now Open
Several Parties Left This Morning for Camp
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 2, 1931, p.8.
The season on the Forbidden Plateau has opened and quite a cavalcade of horses and hikers left this morning for the trail. Four girls from Nanaimo are stetting off up the Mount Becher trail. They will stay in the hut over night and then go on to Camp Croteau where they will find their packs which were being taken over the Dove Creek trail. Jack Gregson also left this morning, ‘bug hunting.’ He will be away ten days to two weeks. Another party set out with 20,000 Kamloops trout eggs to plant in eight more lakes on the plateau. Captain Harry H.M. Beadnell is accompanied by Mr. Garrick from the Cowichan hatchery and they will continue the good work they have already started in making the plateau and angler’s dream of paradise. Captain Beadnell will remain on the plateau for a week or ten days observing the progress of the fish and fry already planted there in former years. Mr. Gwynn Hill, who has done some climbing in Switzerland, went up this morning to see what chances there are of ski-ing on Mount Albert Edward and the snow-covered peaks to the west of the plateau. If there are any prospects at all it will disclose a new field of recreation in the high-altitude playground. The packing is all being done by Murray and Wood. Mr. Murray started running a pack train in the Kootenays as soon as he left school and knows all about the diamond hitch and mule and horse flesh. Stuart Wood has pioneered in packing into the plateau and knows the country as well as anyone. They are all staying at the Croteau Camp, Mr. Eugene Croteau having gone in some days before with supplies and equipment. There has been an inquiry for a seaplane base by a party from Victoria who don’t quite appreciate the ardors of the trail. There have been several attempts to find a good landing for planes on the plateau but so far without success, although some of the many larger lakes should be big enough.
Alpinist Back from Good Camp
Annual Ten-Day Summer Expedition at The Lake of The Seven Hills Comes to End
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday July 7, 1931, p.9.
The annual ten-day camp of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada came to an end with the return to the city yesterday afternoon of the remainder of the forty members who joined the expedition. Generally pronounced by far the most successful camp in the history of the club, the session was productive of some excellent expeditions which tested the hardihood of the climbers. The outstanding feature was a two-day expedition to Survey Mountain, a “skyline” summit of 3,165 feet altitude, to reach which about twenty-five miles had to be traversed through almost pathless country. The party left the main camp on Thursday, Claude L. Harrison, who was in charge of the climb, insisting of scant equipment, without blankets and with the lightest of food supplies. On Thursday evening the party camped near the summit of Survey Mountain and despite the lack of sleeping-bags, blankets or tents, slept comfortably in the open, thanks to a skillfully constructed stone “reflector” built behind the camp fire in the lee of the wind. Camp was broken early in the morning and Friday was spent exploring the region and returning to the Lake of the Seven Hills.
The weather was exceptionally clear all week, owing to the heavy June rains, and wonderful views were visible from any of the hilltops. A party of eight went to Mount Empress on Saturday under William H. Dougan’s guidance, and spent the night there, returning to camp the following day. The nightly bonfire at the Lake of the Seven Hills was unusually merry, enlivened by the “camp fire news,” an innovation introduced this year, with Mrs. Sylvia Holland as editor. Many members developed considerable skill in archery, a pastime introduced to the camp for the first time this year, and boating, swimming and short expeditions in the immediate neighborhood of the main camp provided the most stay-at-home with abundant diversion. The commissariat this year was exceptionally good.
Recorded in the personal diary of Geoffrey Capes, Courtenay, July 19, 1931
Sunday – We got away at 6:55 and picked up Ben Hughes at 7. We left Nell [Geoffrey’s wife] and the luggage in due time at the Cookes in Qualicum then took the road for Cameron Lake. I left the car on a beach and it was precisely 9 that Ben, Katherine, Phyllis and myself disappeared into the slit in the woods which starts the Mt. Arrowsmith Trail. We found the trail to be a very easy grade which switchbacks back and forth up the mountain. It is an old trail built by the C.P.R., who has also built the cabin. In places the trail has become blocked, but the old original trail was excellently made. At 9:20 a noisy stream appeared below the trail, this stream, or it maybe more than one stream, parallels the trail for a large part of the distance. At 9:30 we rested by an old bridge which slants sideways, one of the under beams being split. We stopped to look at an enormous toad. It is all wooded with the usual silence broken very occasionally by the call of a bird and once a noisy woodpecker. In places we had a view in the Qualicum direction. In one place the trail, running alongside a stream is almost level for about a mile. We rested occasionally. At 11:25 we met a party of men and women, about 12 of them, who said they were fifteen minutes down from the cabin. At 11:45 we reached heather country and at 12 we arrived at the two room cabin. It is picturesque enough outside but not inviting inside. There were other parties scattered around, some descending from Mt. Cokely, during the day we met at least forty people, though most of them do not tackle Arrowsmith itself. We soon had some coffee going and ate our sandwiches. At 1:20 we started again and an easy ascent brought us to the cairn on Cokely at 2:00. This is named after Leroy Cokely, the surveyor. This mountain is about 5700 feet and from it one looks across at Arrowsmith. We had passed patches of snow by this time. Having come this far we decided to try and make the summit of Arrowsmith. We descended Cokely on to a connecting mountain, on our left in the amphitheatre was a small lake, Lake Kathleen [Jewel Lake], in the middle of which a small snow berg rested. We were pretty tired and all of us ate snow. We had a snowball fight on one patch. Before us without a doubt was a lot of hard work. All of us except Ben were wearing tennis shoes now. It was a long steep climb on to the mountain, then we had to climb and descend two or three peaks, two of which were decidedly steep. Then we saw ahead of us the much talked about final peak and it certainly looked steep enough and we could see the fixed ropes. There are two peaks. On a large patch of snow below a deer scampered across with rather a rattle. We had no particular trouble on the last peak until we reached the first rope. The girl were a little slow her. I did not use the rope but climbed away from it. There is a second rope higher up. Ben and Phyllis were up and Katherine was climbing next. I waited below. Part of the way one can grab two ropes. I did use one and got above. Katherine could not make it. She was holding on to the rope and sprawling over a bulge in the rocks. Ben got a foot hold and tried to grab her and I held to Ben’s waist. None of us could do anything and after almost ten minutes she managed to get up. The short distance to the cairn on the summit was no trouble. We arrived at 4:55. Although a sunny day the horizon was hazy. A large part of the Pacific was visible, and probably a hundred miles away the Olympics in Washington. Alberni lay below us. Sproat Lake and the Somass River lay like huge pools of molten silver. Great Central Lake wound among the mountains. Our own glacier [Comox Glacier] could be distinguished and Mt. Washington stood out boldly. The Mainland Mountains and the eastern shores of Vancouver Island were of course part of the view. Arrowsmith is 5976 feet elevation. We took photos. I had my second smoke since leaving Cameron Lake and we rested. At 5:20 we started back. We all used the rope going down, the girls being rather slow. In total both coming and going we were an hour negotiating this last peak. We were all very tired and the many steep climbs and descents did not make us less so. We slithered over the snow banks between the two mountains. Once on top of Cokely I lay down exhausted for a time. We nursed Phyllis. Katherine’s girl guide whistle brought an answering whistle. She was way ahead we having got off the trail. However, we did see a ptarmigan and four or five chicks. Katherine got behind and as it was growing dark Ben waited and Phyllis and I went to start supper. We arrived at the cabin at 8:25. Never was tomato soup more welcome. Likewise the coffee and the sausages. By 9:25 we moved off. Ben’s flash light petered out, so that we had my one between four of us. When we got settled Ben went ahead, Katherine next with the lighter Phyllis and then myself bringing up the rear, but we all got along pretty well. It was a wearisome business though. Where the trail was blocked we wasted much time getting on to it again. We stopped once for a drink. Except for a few stumbles we got along in good order. The last part where the trail was smooth, I was almost asleep and it was 10 minutes past 1 when we hit the road. 16 hours steady going. Ben and I walked to the car, and we deposited the girls at Cookes at 1:45. Ben had suggested going for a swim on the beach, but my energies were exhausted and we drove on. The dawn gradually came and by 3:20 when I reached home it was quite light.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 30, 1931, p.2.
Young members of the Comox Mountaineering Club are no longer content to take only the easiest route to the summits. It’s always been the history of climbing that the easiest route is sought first: then, when all peaks have been conquered, more difficult faces are scaled. There are many virgin peaks in Strathcona Park yet, but it won’t be many years before they are all conquered—then new routes will be sought. Len Rossiter and Jack Gregson have been finding new routes up Mount Albert Edward and establishing records for speed in ascent. They left Circle [Circlet] Lake at 8:15 on Saturday [July 25] and reached the cairn at Mount Albert Edward at 10:10, a record. They roped down the steep north face, jumping to a snow slope and cutting steps for a quarter of a mile. They next attacked the virgin peak of Mount Regan—and easy climb—reaching the top at 12:35. After building a cairn they climbed back under the glaciers of Mount Albert Edward to the dome-ridge, which gave them some trouble. After a light meal they left for Mount Arthur [Jutland Mountain], gaining the peak at 4:45. Then they came down, reaching Circle Lake at 6 p.m., having in the ten hours climbed three peaks all over 6,000 feet, one of which had never been conquered before.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 30, 1931. p.2.
Scampering around the mountain peaks here is mere amusement to two local youths who made a record ascension of Mount Albert Edward, 6,100 [6,867] feet altitude: set out for new worlds to conquer, scaled a new peak, Mount Regan, then another peak, Mount Arthur [Jutland], all in ten hours. Jack Gregson and Len Rossiter bested the previous record of two hours forty minutes by climbing Mount Albert Edward in one hour fifty-five minutes. They went down the North Face of the peak by a rope, chopped steps on quarter of a mile across a snowfield, had lunch, climbed Mount Regan which had never before been climbed and built a cairn. Descending they climbed Mount Arthur [Jutland] then rejoined witnesses on Mount Albert Edward. The three peaks are all over 6,000 feet and the feat of the mountaineers is without parallel say members of the local mountain club.
Depart Circlet Lake – 8:15
Mount Albert Edward summit – 10:10
Mount Regan summit – 12:35
Mount Arthur [Jutland] summit – 4:45
Return Circlet Lake – 6:00
Many Visitors at Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 30, 1931, p.7.
From as far away as New Jersey visitors are finding their way to the Forbidden Plateau and staying at Croteau’s Camp. Dr. and Mrs. A.V. Hayes and their two daughters motored all the way out from New Brunswick, New Jersey, to spend part of their holiday at the Plateau. They were out here last year and liked it so well that they have returned. Dr. Hayes is professor of geology back east and is very interested in the rocks of the Plateau. Two ladies from the faculty of the University of California have also just returned. Other visitors include officers from H.M.S. Dragon during her stay here, and many local people. The weather has been delightful with no smoke to blot out the mountains.
Visitor Sees Alpine Camp
Les Golman, Vancouver Mountaineer, Delighted with Sooke Resort
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday August 1, 1931, p.3.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada has received a very enthusiastic tribute from Les Golman, secretary of the B.C. Mountaineering Club, Vancouver, and one of the directors of the B.C. Safety League. Mr. Golman called at The Colonist Office yesterday in his return from a visit to the local Alpine Club’s camp at Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke, in company of C. [Claude] L. Harrison, in order to express his enthusiasm. “Your Alpine Club has one of the finest mountaineering camps on the Pacific Coast. In the first place it is beautifully situated, in lovely open parkland with magnificent scenery from the summits of all the surrounding hills. We would consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to get possession of such a lake in any of the hills around Vancouver. Then the trail is very easy, one of the easiest I have ever travelled over in British Columbia. Your club should be warmly complimented on this and the fact of having a camp situated so near the end of a fairly good motor road, which makes it easily accessible. “Another important thing is that the camp lies in practically virgin forest land which has neither been burned nor touched by axe. This is a distinct contrast to conditions in certain districts on the Mainland and other points on Vancouver Island where everything has been spoiled by people going in and despoiling nature. And finally,” added Mr. Golman, in summing up his impressions of the Sooke resort, “your Alpine Club members must have very aesthetic standards, as the trail is practically free of litter in the form of orange peel, cigarette boxes, tins and other rubbish which so often disfigures the mountain trails.”
Mr. Golman was through the same area about ten years ago, and was struck on the occasion of his visit to the camp this week by the absence of game birds and other wildlife. Ten years ago there were quantities of grouse, whereas this week he only saw one. The district, he considers, is admirably suited for game preserve purposes. This might be developed rapidly by the formation of a small chain of game preserves, where deer and birds would multiply and spread into surrounding country. Vancouver has two of the strongest mountaineering organizations on the continent in the B.C. Mountaineering Club and the Alpine Club of Canada, so it is a genuine compliment to hear from Mr. Golman that the Vancouver section of the latter has an exceptionally strong membership. Considered in comparison with the mountains around Vancouver, this part of the Island offers little in the way of strenuous climbing, and may more appropriately be called fine hiking country. But a splendid spirit is shown, he thinks, in the building of the outdoor interest which will take people twenty-five miles away from home to start their hiking. In Vancouver the mountaineering clubs’ cabins are within two hours’ walking from the centre of the city. Here, on the Island, it takes nearly that time to walk from the road terminus after a drive of more than twenty miles.
Following the lead of the Men’s Dress Reform party in Great Britain, Mr. Golman favors open-neck shirts and shorts for both men and women climbers. This is a radical departure from the Alpine Club regulation outfit, which calls for knickerbockers or riding breeches. Here at the Coast particularly Mr. Golman thinks the shorts will become the regulation nether dress in the course of the next few years. An ardent “Hikers Safety Club” member, Mr. Golman is one of its best propagandists. The object of this organization is to get rid of what they characterize as “the jazz hiker,” and develop a type of hiker who has good deportment in the hills, who works for the preservation of nature’s beauty, the protection of trees and shrubs, the safeguarding of watersheds and streams, the prevention of fires, and the elimination of all that tends to uglify and desecrate the mountains.
Great Alpine Region Has Been Explored
Courtenay Party Climbs Virgin Peak and Crosses Three Great Glaciers
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 6, 1931. p.1.
As a result of an exploration trip into the heart of Vancouver Island, a party headed by Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul of Comox climbed a virgin peak several hundred feet higher than the Dome [Comox Glacier highpoint] and traversed several great glaciers. They returned on Monday night. The party consisted of Messrs. W.A.B. Paul, Arthur Leighton of Nanaimo, Ben Hughes and Jack Gregson of Courtenay. When the party climbed the Comox Glacier two years ago, they saw to the west two great peaks [The Red Pillar and Argus Mountain], one on each side of and guarding another and unnamed glacier. A ridge appeared to run down to the headwaters of the Puntledge River and an arête to connect the Dome with this other range. There was not time then to go farther but they determined to go back some day and explore this unknown terrain. They found twenty miles from Courtenay in an airline a great alpine region of glaciers and peaks. In August they crossed a snow slope which would give a safe run for a toboggan of half a mile and wonderful skiing. Patches of “pink snow” were so common as to cause no comment and in some spots millions of jet-black Ice-worms covered the surface of the Pillar Glacier [Cliffe Glacier]. It was hoped to find an easier way than over steep Mount Evans [Kookjai Mountain] to the Glacier Dome, but until a road has been built through the devil’s club and alder thickets which makes going so tedious up the Puntledge divide, that is the easiest route to the great snow peak which is seen from Courtenay.
The Pillar Mountain
The Pillar Mountain [The Red Pillar] cannot be seen from Courtenay but is observable from Comox. The first objective of the party was to climb this peak. Leaving the south end of Comox Lake at 9:30 on Friday morning, the Dome base camp on the second of the little lakes was reached in time for lunch. There is a fair trail beyond this for perhaps an hour, then there is nothing to be done but fight a way through Devils club and thicket alder bottom or take to the side hill. The brawling Puntledge, a bright and sparkling mountain stream issuing from the Pillar Glacier, here meanders in a dozen sluggish streams through a swamp and all of them have to be waded. It was seven o’clock at night before the exhausted party, carrying heavy packs, arrived at a little Isle of refuge in the valley and camped for the night.
A Ruddy Mountain
Next morning the ridge leading up to the Pillar was found and at eleven after a hard grind open ground was won. The Pillar was close at hand, a reddish mass of rock just as formidable on close inspection as from the Dome. It was attacked on Sunday morning early. After crossing a snow slope, packs were left on a spur overlooking a glacial lake [Tzela Lake] fantastically green, and the north face attacked. It was found to be impregnable. Next a way was sought up the steep west face. The climbing was always difficult, every hand hold counting. Three quarters of the way up to the top the chimney chosen to ascent was found to be blocked with chock stones so large there was not a chance to squirm through and it seemed likely that the Pillar would remain unconquered. At this time the sound of a plane was heard in the sky and looking straight up from their perch on the rocky face a plane was seen high in the air going over to Buttles Lake.
The Top Is Reached
Immediately after another chimney was found and after some hazardous corners had to be negotiated the party were on top at ten minutes past ten. The top is flat with a snow field of several acres and a ptarmigan and her family were very surprised to see the first humans that had ever climbed up there. A cairn was built and a record with a recommendation from the mountaineers that the peak be named the Pillar. On the other side of the glacier rose the black mass of the Camel [Argus Mountain] (two humps) in remarkable contrast to the ruddy colour of the Pillar. The climb up the west face had been so difficult that a route was attempted down the south face and one was found not quite so precipitous but more tedious. On getting back to the glacier on the south a route was seen which might conceivably be much easier than either of those undertaken.
Snow Sports In August
It was one o’clock when the spur where the packs were was reached and blazing hot. Half an hour later the four were crossing the great Pillar glacier flowing to the Pacific; this is the divide, for the glaciers between the Pillar and the Camel runs into the Gulf of Georgia. The descent from the Pillar base on to the glacier was made with considerable difficulty. The snow slope being quite steep, but once down the snow was firm and unbroken by a single crevasse. One could put a toboggan at the top of the slope and go for half a mile. It was a quarter to half a mile wide. At its east rim it was hoped to find a way over the base of the Camel to a snow ridge running across to the Dome.
After some very difficult climbing over screes a point was reached where a snow slope had to be crossed, perhaps thirty feet wide. The snow was at an angle of sixty degrees and the slope ran down to the glacier below. One slip and a yawning crevasse would have entangled the climber away if he reached that far alive. We carried no rope and had no ice axes to cut steps and were in heavy man hauling order with full packs. It was hard as the thirty feet was probably all that divided us from the Dome and a known camping site on the other side with a good trail home. But it was too big a hazard to take. It was seven o’clock before a very reluctant decision was arrived at to return, and then all speed was made to get back to the high-level camp where wood, water and hemlock beds awaited us, but it was not until nine we got “home.” As we left at half past five in the morning, we had been fifteen and a half hours on the hoof, many hours of which had been spent in difficult rock and snow work, and the other under heavy packs. A slightly better route was found on the way home and the journey was made in thirteen and a half hours. It’s a long and hard trip but the country is amazing in its possibilities for winter sports. Mr. W.A.B. Paul slipped down a bergschrund and cut his head, but the injury was not serious. This was the only casualty beyond scratches, sunburns, galled shoulders and torn garments. Jack Gregson, the youngest member of the party, besides collecting some rare beetles for his collection, more than won his spurs as a mountaineer.
Found Easy Pass to Nootka
Courtenay Party Hike from Upper Campbell Lake to Pacific
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 27, 1931, p.1.
Exposing the fallacy that great difficulties exist in passing from one side of the island to the other except by existing roads three young Courtenay men returned from a hard trip from Upper Campbell Lake to Nootka Sound on Saturday night [August 22]. They were Len Rossiter and Allan Rossiter and Roy Harrison. They set out from Upper Campbell Lake carrying sixty-pound packs and found a good trail at the end of the slough which would conceal it from anyone not knowing that it existed. Their route then lay up the Elk River valley, a park whose beauty more people should see. They crossed the summit between the Pacific and the Gulf of Georgia at about two thousand feet without any difficulty and continued on the trail to Gold River. The trail is difficult to pick up in places because trappers who use it have blazed their own trapping lines across and from it these are likely to take one off the trail. They were led off several times but eventually found their way back.
Giant Trout in Pools
As to fishing it is a paradise. They lay on a rock once and looked down into a pool where trout as big as salmon teemed. There are two excellent cabins on this trail and one of they found occupied by Messrs. Barty Harvey and Cecil “Cougar” Smith, who are observing the habits of a herd of elk in this vicinity, and they also met Mr. Harry Idiens coming out with a string of fish. They followed the trail down to Gold River without much difficulty till they came to the great inlet called Muchalat Arm. Here they picked up a canoe left there by an old trapper coming through the pass to the east coast looking for work, but the wind was blowing off shore and they could not make any headway. They encountered two old Indians who told them that the wind would drop soon, as it did.
Great School of Pilchards
The Indians were following a great school of pilchards and over this mass of fish the young fellows paddled their way to Nootka when the wind dropped. They had heard that the S.S. Maquinna was to be there in the morning and since the coast boat only passes once in five days they were determined to get aboard it. They got there early in the morning, almost played out, and went down coast to Tofino. They explored Long Beach and spent some interesting days there, stopping with gold-diggers who are trying their luck at opening up some old workings with no great success. They pushed through to Ucluelet, having in some places to make their way through salal twelve feet high, one of the most trying experiences of the trip. Ucluelet is one of the centres of the west coast fishing but now very quiet since most of the canneries and fish reduction plants are closed down and the salmon fishermen are getting very poor prices. They caught the mail boat down the canal from Ucluelet on Friday after a vexatious delay, hiked out of Alberni that night and slept at the end of Beaver Creek Road. Next day they came over the Comox-Alberni pass to Comox Lake, finding it easy to follow and in good condition save for the inevitable windfalls.
Russian Lady Is Remarkable
Visitor to Plateau Carries Own Pack Although 76
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 27, 1931, p.1.
One of the most interesting visitors to the Forbidden Plateau this or any other season has been a Russian lady [Olga Stavrakov]. Born in Russia but educated in France and widely travelled, she has climbed most of the mountains in Europe, and seldom uses a car. Although she is 76 years old, she carries all she requires in her rucksack, but she has reduced the art of getting along with little to a science. She carries a light blanket with a paper cover as a sleeping bag and a small silk tent when it rains, and is thus independent of camps. She walked out to Dove Creek and into camp, carrying her own stuff, and hiked out again. On her return to Courtenay, she stayed with Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Dundas, Mr. Dundas having met her on the Plateau. She is greatly impressed with the scenery. “It is more than lovely,” she said, “it is divine.” The Dove Creek Road has now been finished to the point where it intersects the old diamond-drill trail and it has been cleared to the creek.
Gigantic Peaks Challenge Skill
Mountaineers Find Ample Scope for Sport on Vancouver Island
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 30, 1931, p.19.
To those versed in the serious art of mountaineering, the Island holds peaks and glaciers which are challenging to the skill of the most adventurous. In addition to the easy ascents which blazed trails, some of the following will satisfy the most voracious appetite for the thrilling sport. A few of the glacier-covered peaks are: Crown Mountain, 6,082 feet, thirteen miles northwest of Buttle Lake; Victoria Peak, the highest on Vancouver Island, reaches the altitude of 7,484 feet; second comes Elkhorn, 7,240 feet. The Big Interior is close beside the head of Buttle Lake and Great Central Lake, 6,200 feet. Probably the greatest mass of glaciers is found directly between the city of Courtenay and Buttle Lake. The Dome [Comox Glacier], 6,100 feet, can be approached up the Cruikshank River. Further north is Mount Albert Edward, 7,000 feet, and beyond that comes Alexandra Peak, 6,349 feet. Mount [Tom] Taylor, west of the Big Interior, has a big glacier, plainly visible from the head of the Tofino Arm, on the West Coast.
Club Arranges Active Season
Vancouver Island Section of The Alpine Club of Canada to Begin Programme This Week-End
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 2, 1931, p.3.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will open its Autumn outing programme with a three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills this coming week-end September 5, 6 and 7. At the outings committee meeting a few weeks ago, nine attractive expeditions were outlined to meet the pre-Christmas season. The majority of these will go under the personal direction of Claude Harrison.
September 5, 6 and 7, Saturday to Monday, Labor Day, camp, Lake of the Seven Hills.
September 19, Saturday, half-day, Mount Blinkhorn and district, leaving city at 1 o’clock.
September 26, Saturday, all-day outing to Bluff Mountain, leaving city at 9 o’clock in the morning, and returning to Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, at 7 o’clock for dinner.
October 11, Sunday, all-day trip to Mount Prevost, leaving at 9 o’clock in the morning.
October 24, Saturday, half-day trip to Mount Helmcken, leaving the city at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
October 31, Saturday, all-day outing, Mount McGuire, leaving city at 9 o’clock in the morning, and returning to the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, for dinner at 7 o’clock.
November 7, 8 and 9, Thanksgiving week-end camp, Saturday to Monday, Lake of the Seven Hills.
November 21, Saturday, half-day outing to Mount Finlayson, S.W. face, leaving city at 1 o’clock.
November 29, Sunday, all-day trip, Mount Wood, leaving city at 9 o’clock in the morning.
Gone To Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 6, 1931, p.6.
Not deterred by the rainy weather, about twelve members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada have gone done to Sooke to attend the three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills. Claude L. Harrison, outings convener, and Kenneth M. Chadwick, secretary, left on Friday for the camp to get things in readiness, and the remainder of the party went out yesterday, intending to remain until Monday.
Plateau Sees First Radio
Beach Pajamas Also Introduced at Croteau Camp
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 10, 1931, p.8.
The first radio and the first suit of beach pajamas were introduced to the Forbidden Plateau last week. Jack Gregson took up the radio and operated it from his tent with a very fair amount of success, and a visitor from Vancouver flaunted the first pair of beach pajamas. Mr. Eugene Croteau and Mr. Len Rossiter welcomed twenty-two visitors to their camp last Thursday [September 3] and provided excellent meals and accommodation without flurry and without delay. Every bed was occupied. There was strong flavor of news writers but they were not on duty—they were out on holiday. However, it is probable that something of the Plateau will make its way into the columns of the Sunday Province and the Cowichan Leader since representatives of those well-known papers were there. It was most unfortunate that after two months of undiluted sunshine the Weather Man should have turned on the spout, for it is impossible, no matter how wonderful the view is behind the mist, to be very enthusiastic about the invisible. Mr. Croteau is going to give the weather a good long chance to get better. He is going to keep the camp open till October the first. There are usually some brilliant days in September and these will be delightful on the Plateau.
Some Interesting Visitors
There were many other interesting visitors in the crowd on the Plateau. Mr. J.E. Eve, of the firm of Eve Brothers who have done so much for flying on the island, is delighted with what he saw of the Plateau. He is very much at home in the saddle as well as the pilot’s seat of a plane, and rode all over the Plateau. He is delighted with it and is going up again before he leaves Comox, where he is staying until the middle of the month. It was a thousand pities that he was not up there when the color movie man was there. His picturesque pink beaver hat would have given then a very delightful bit of color. A very dread enemy is threatening the beauty of the Plateau. The little gnomish trees, which lend so much to the attraction of the scenery, have assumed a brownish tint. It is the hemlock looper, an infestation which has done great damage in other parts of the province. There does not seem much that can be done about it. Spraying the trees from an aeroplane as was done at Stanley Park is effective, but over such a wide area would be too expensive to be thought of. The pest does not kill the trees in one year so all who love the beauty of the out-of-doors offer up a prayer that the looper passes on before too much damage has been done.
Alpine Club Has First Expedition
Vancouver Island Section of The Alpine Club of Canada
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday September 22, 1931, p.3.
The Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada began its season’s activities, Saturday [September 19], with a half-day outing to Mount Blinkhorn and Single Hill. A party of fourteen members left the city at 1 o’clock and under Gordon Cameron’s guidance climbed to the summit of the two hills, descending to the lake at the base of Mount Blinkhorn for the alfresco tea, which is always such a welcome feature after these expeditions. The club’s next climb will be an all-day expedition to Bluff Mountain, on Saturday, September 26, members returning to the Sooke Harbor Hotel for dinner. There will be a programme of less strenuous character for those who can only spend the afternoon in the district, details of which may be had from Claude L. Harrison, convener of outings, or Mrs. Fleming, Cadboro Bay.
Alpine Club Has Pleasant Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday September 29, 1931, p.18.
Another fixture on the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club’s Autumn calendar was ticked off Saturday [September 26] evening after a party of nineteen returned from a day’s outing in the Sooke District. The group left the city in two sections, the first leaving early in the morning for Bluff Mountain in the charge of Claude L. Harrison; the second later in the day making for the south branch of the Leech River in the charge of Gordon Cameron. The former reached the summit of Bluff just about midday, and after lunching there went to the top of Trapp Mount. Mr. Cameron’s party extended the expedition up to the summit of the hill on the west side of the river. Both parties found the visibility good and splendid views of the Olympics and Straits were seen. The entire group met at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, for dinner, the social character of which was emphasized by the singing of several of the camp parodies of well-known community songs. Among the approaching events to which members are looking forward with special pleasure is the Halloween celebrations. This will take the form of an expedition to the summit of Mount McGuire on October 31, to be followed by a masquerade party and dinner at the Belvedere Hotel in the evening.
Holiday In Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 11, 1931, p.6.
Eight members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada took advantage of the lovely weather and went up to the camp at Lake of the Seven Hills district, for the holiday week-end. The party left town early yesterday morning, intending to spend the first day and night at the new hut which Mr. Claude L. Harrison recently finished at his property at Grass Lake. Today the intention is to make a reconnaissance of the Seven Hills area with a view to finding a hitherto unsuspected lake recently revealed in photographs taken from airplane. The party comprised C.L. Harrison, outings convener; William H. Dougan, L. Shaw, Thomas Goodlake, Mrs. Sylvia Holland, Miss Janet Bell, Mrs. Charlotte J.B. Hadow and Miss Audrey Hadow.
Climb Mount Helmcken
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday October 25, 1931, p.6.
A small party of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada members climbed Mount Helmcken yesterday [October 24] under the leadership of Guy M. Shaw, who made the graduating climb at the main camp of the Alpine Club during the past Summer. Yesterday’s expedition was a complete success. The next expedition will take place on Saturday October 31, the objective being Mount McGuire. This will be an all-day outing, and will be followed by a Halloween dinner and party at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke. Members have been working on a programme of songs, parodies, recitations and other entertaining “turns” to fill the evening, and already about forty reservations have been made by members and their friends. The hotel dinning-room and lounge are being appropriately decorated for the occasion.
Re-Elect Head of Alpine Club
A.O. Wheeler Returned by Acclamation as Chairman of Local Section
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday December 10, 1931, p.15.
Arthur O. Wheeler, founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, and for many years its director, was by acclamation re-elected as chairman of the Vancouver Island section at the annual meeting of the organization held Tuesday night [December 8] at the New Thought Temple. Other offices and executive positions will be filled during the ensuing year as follows: Vice-chairman, William H. Dougan; secretary, Guy M. Shaw; treasurer, Gordon Cameron; executive, Claude L. Harrison, Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Kenneth M. Chadwick and Robert D. McCaw. After the annual reports of the chairman, retiring secretary (K.M. Chadwick), treasurer, (Gordon Cameron), and outings convenor (C.L. Harrison), Reverend Dr. Clem Davies entertained the members and guests with a lantern lecture about his tour through Europe in 1930. Approximately 360 slides were expertly run through the lantern by G. Holt during the absorbingly interesting seventy-five-minute description of some of the wonders of Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and England. After the chairman had cordially thanked Mr. Davies, refreshments were served, Mrs. E.C. Posgate and Mrs. C.L. Harrison acting as hostesses.
In his annual address Mr. Wheeler congratulated the section on its splendid activities during the past year and on the success of the annual camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, with special reference to the “energetic and enthusiastic leadership” of the outings convener, Mr. C.L. Harrison. “As the father of the club,” Mr. Wheeler noted, “it gives me much gratification to find the Vancouver Island section so enthusiastic in its activities.” He also recalled with pleasure the occasion last April when he and Mrs. Clara Wheeler were entertained at the camp. Members were informed that the next Alpine Club camp will be held at Mt. Assiniboine in the Rockies. The report of the secretary showed a total of 108 members of all ranks in the Vancouver Island section of which sixty are subscribers, nine members of the parent society, three life, and two honorary. Special thanks were expressed to Mr. and Mrs. James White (Sidney), Mrs. John Nairn, Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, and Captain and Mrs. Fleming, who during the year entertained the section; and in addition to officers, W.H. Dougan.
Chairman – Arthur Wheeler
Vice-chairman – William Dougan
Secretary – Guy Shaw
Treasurer – Gordon Cameron
Executive Committee – Claude Harrison, Robert McCaw, Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Kenneth Chadwick.
March 5 – Club trip to Mt. Jefferson.
March 13 – Club trip to Mt. McGuire.
March 19 – Club trip to Sooke Canyon.
March 25 to 28 – Club camp at Lake of the Seven Hills.
March 30 –Club’s 26th annual banquet at Beach Hotel.
April 3 – Club trip to Mt. Prevost.
April 17 – Club trip to Cougar Lake, Sooke Hills.
April 23/24 – Club reconnaissance camp to Lake of the Seven Hills.
April 30/ May 1 – Club trip to Mts. Maxwell and Bruce, Saltspring Island.
May 8 – Club trip to Jocelyn Hill.
May 14 – Club trip to Mt. Work and picnic at “Killarney Lake.”
June 3/4/5 – Opening of club hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
June 18/19 – Club trip to Mount Braden.
June 23 to 26 – Club trip to Mount Trap.
July 1/2/3 – Club trip to Lake of the Seven Hills.
July 9 to 19 – Summer camp to Forbidden Plateau.
July 31 – Club trip to Mount Tzouhalem.
August 19/20/21 – Club trip to Mount Arrowsmith.
September 2 to 5 – Club trip to Sproat Lake cancelled. Three-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills instead.
September 11 – Club trip to Mt. Newton and beach picnic.
September 17/18– Club trip to Lake of the Seven Hills.
September 24 – Club half-day trip to Mt. Helmcken.
October 2 – Club trip to Partridge Hills.
October 10/11/12 – Thanksgiving Weekend Club camp at Lake of the Seven Hills.
October 22 – Club trip to Saddle Hills.
November 11/12/13 – Club trip at Lake of the Seven Hills.
November 25 – Talk given by Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe to club on “Wild Beasts”.
December 6 – Annual club meeting to elect officers at YMCA, 8 p.m.
Section members who attended the ACC annual summer camp at Mount Sir Donald: Arthur Wheeler, Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe, Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Posgate
Tribute To the Worth of Late “Joe” Drinkwater
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday January 24, 1932, p.3.
By Robert Dunn Jr.
“Joe” Drinkwater, whose body has been found in the waters of Great Central Lake, was a real Western Canadian of the old type. He was a rugged woodsman who knew the lore of the forest and made his home as far from the nearest settlements as possible., amidst the mountains, rivers and streams of the Island. He was a real prospector, always looking for minerals and never losing faith. He was an expert with the axe, and none was more skilled in the handling of a gun, a rod, or more adept or fearless in the use of a paddle, an oar, or babying a cranky gasoline engine on water or land. Above all, however, “Joe” was kindness personified in his personal contacts—the soul of hospitality. I wonder if I have been able to paint the picture in my mind of this man of whose friendship I was proud and with whom I have spent many happy hours. To appreciate him it was necessary to meet him in his natural surroundings—the great woods and mountain lands of the Island’s interior. With the twenty-five mile stretch of Great central Lake at his front door, with the quaint cedarwood “Ark”—hewn out of the forest, split and put together with his own hands—and with timber-clad hills and mountains rising abruptly from the water on all sides, “Joe” was at home. Here for years he reigned—”the Laird of the Great Central District.” His houseboat was fitted with comfortable little cabins. Those who sat at his table were regaled with wholesome food, well and tastily cooked, consisting more often than not of some one or other of the variety of game offered by the country. And the atmosphere was one of scrupulous and cheery cleanliness, for “Joe” was a good housekeeper. The last time I saw him he took me, with pride, to what he described as his refrigerator. This had been constructed by running a “slope” into the side hill back of his new home. This had been timbered, and, well underground, a large wooden cabinet constructed. Outside the August sun was burning, but the atmosphere in which Joes larder was placed was cool, almost chilly, and his butter was as solid as when it left the ice box of the manufacturer. “Joe” entertained hundreds of fishermen and huntsmen during the period he presided over his unique lodge. It is a pity the register of guests was destroyed in a fire which wiped out the building and its content some years ago. There is much more that one would like to say about “Joe.” To tell in detail of his experiences as a miner, as a trapper, and to describe how, after selling the “Ark,” he built another charming little cedar houseboat which was towed to the head of the lake at the mouths of Drinkwater and McBride Creeks, would run to too great length. I can only say that Great Central Lake will be different without the sterling, sturdy old boy’s presence. We shall miss him.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 7, 1932, p11.
Next Saturday [February 13] the Hiking Club will be off to Mount Douglas, leaving the Y.W.C.A. at 2 o’clock. The hikers are asked to come warmly clad and to bring their lunch. The Tri-Y Welcome Club met last Thursday night [February 4]. Mr. Claude Harrison, of the Alpine Club, gave a talk on places of interest in Victoria.
Alpine Club to Resume Climbs
Active Season’s Work Drawn Up at Session of Outings Committee
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 20, 1932, p.5.
A number of previously unexplored districts will be visited by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada during the next eight months. An interesting years’ programme was drawn up at the meets of the outing committee, held at the office of the convener, Claude L. Harrison, on Thursday [February 17], when the following expeditions were fixed, with Mr. C.L. Harrison, Guy Shaw and Kenneth M. Chadwick as expedition leaders: Saturday, March 5, Mount Jeffrey; Sunday, March 13, Mount McGuire; Saturday, March 19, Sooke Canyon; March 25-28, inclusive, Shower Camp, Lake of the Seven Hills; Sunday, April 3, Mount Prevost; Sunday, April 17, Cougar Lake, Sooke Hills; April 23-24, Reconnaissance Camp, Lake of the Seven Hills; April 30-May 1, Mounts Maxwell and Bruce, Saltspring Island; Sunday, May 8, Mount Jocelyn [Jocelyn Hill]; Saturday, May 14, “Killarney” Lake, picnic, and Mount Work; June 3, 4, 5, opening day at The Hut, Lake of the Seven Hills; June 18-19, Mount Braden; June 23-26, Mount Trap; July 1-3, Lake of the Seven Hills; July 9-19 – Summer Camp, Forbidden Plateau, near Circle Lake; Sunday, July 31, Mount Tzouhalem; August 19, 20, 21, Mount Arrowsmith; September 2-5, Sproat Lake; Sunday, September 11, Mount Newton and beach picnic; September 17 and 18, Lake of the Seven Hills; Saturday, September 24, Mount Helmcken; Sunday, October 2, Partridge Hills and Thanksgiving Weekend Camp at Lake of the Seven Hills; Saturday, October 22, Saddle Hills; November 11, 12, 13, Lake of the Seven Hills. The annual dinner will take place at the Beach Hotel on March 30, with the club president, A. [Arthur] O. Wheeler, presiding.
Alpine Club Enjoys Second Expedition
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday March 15, 1932, p.7.
Fifteen members and guests of the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Island section, ascended Mount McGuire on Sunday [March 13], the second highest ascent of the season. The party left the meeting place at Bastion Square by automobile at 9. a.m. promptly, and took to their feet an hour later, at Anderson Cove, East Sooke. The 850-foot ascent, conducted by Thomas Goodlake, was made for the most part, through thick bush and salal. The party lunched by the banks of a small stream and returned to the cars at 2:30 p.m. They then adjourned to Rocky Point where they were entertained by Mrs. Sylvia Holland at the picturesque old Holland Farm.
Alpinists Explore Sooke Canyon Area
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 20, 1932, p.3.
Sooke Canyon was the objective of the expedition made by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada yesterday [March 19]. The outing attracted a gratifying turnout of members, nineteen composing the party which left the city at 1 o’clock. Claude L. Harrison took charge, and when the difficult part of the canyon was reached divided the party into two sections, assigning each to a rope during the ascent of the rocks. Two and a half hours were spent exploring this beautiful and interesting part of the river. Although the water is unusually high at present, some of the big pot-holes were easily examined, and some photographs were taken. The weather was excellent. The next club outing will be the Easter week-end camp at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, for which a big registration is already promised.
The Island’s Mountain Paradise
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 20, 1932, p.26.
By J.P.G. Audain
The death of Joe Drinkwater, trapper and prospector on the shore of Great Central Lake brings to the public notice a part of the island about which comparatively little is known, yet which possesses great possibilities. Drinkwater was one of the oldest and most interesting pioneers, not only of the Alberni District but on the whole of Vancouver Island, and it is fitting to dwell for a few moments on his romantic career and tragic end while bringing to light some of the wonderful country and gems of scenery he discovered. Great Central Lake lies about fourteen miles inland from Alberni and is reached by road through dense forest, which suddenly comes to an end at the foot of the most picturesque lake in British Columbia. It was at the bottom end of this lake that Joe took up his abode about twenty years ago in a houseboat known as the “Ark,” and it was sixteen miles up the lake that he was found stiff and cold lying on his side dead from exhaustion and loss of blood some months ago. Even in the early days, when the forest came to Great Central Lake, when the shores were wild as nature made them and not scarred by the axes of the loggers, Drinkwater penetrated into the wild and densely forested country at the head of the lake thirty miles from where the logging camp is now situated at the bottom.
An Anglers Paradise
In those days it was, and rather would have been an angler’s paradise had there been any anglers; and now in the two creeks, McBride and Drinkwater, both named by Joe, the fishing is as good as anywhere on the Island. This country at the head of the lake is still wild and in part unexplored, and the nature lover can find vast fields in which to gain experience. Of late years the head of the lake has been opened up in a sort of sporadic way, by fishing expeditions and holiday parties; but scarcely any of them have penetrated to any extent into the hinterland behind the two creeks. This country is wild in the extreme, dense undergrowth at times making progress impossible, only the trails which are now well-blazed, making it possible for a newcomer to travel any distance in a given direction. There are three good shacks at the head of the lake, one of which used to belong to Drinkwater, and two which are the property of a man named Burke who runs a Summer visitor business and takes parties up the lake. Burke possesses both a speed boat and a covered launch. The fishing in both the creeks is good; trout running up to about two pounds, and all being beautiful, clean, sporting fish such as would delight any disciple of Izaak Walton [an English writer best known as the 1653 author of The Compleat Angler].
A trail runs up McBride Creek as far as McBride Lake, situated about three miles up the right fork, but farther the creek runs into dense forest and mountainous regions which are almost completely unexplored. There is plenty of animal life, and deer and black bear are still quite common; wolves have been rarely seen, but can frequently be heard, while cougar are also fairly plentiful. At the mouth of McBride Creek, above what is known as the “drop-off,” large lake trout running up to ten and twelve pounds are sometimes caught, and can often be seen swimming about in the crystal-clear water. Joe Drinkwater’s shack stands at the mouth of Drinkwater Creek, and from here starts a trail into the interior. A mile up the trail another branches off to Buttle lake, and one or two parties have been through to this lake which can be said to be the only one on the Island which rivals Great Central in any way, but which is usually entered from the north by way of Forbes Landing. To continue along the trail, one comes, after about four miles, to Drinkwater Falls [Della Falls], at which many will stop and remain convinced that they can find nothing more beautiful on the Island—and perhaps, if they are fishermen, they will throw a fly into the boiling, ice-clear pool at the foot of the falls and let it go swirling down until it is seized by a Rainbow trout, which, until landed, will fight in swift waters in a way that they have surely not experienced before. But not until the thrilling grandeur of Della Falls, named by Joe Drinkwater after his wife, has been revealed to the traveler can they fully realize what possibilities and what gems of scenery Vancouver Island hides from all save a privileged few.
Nature Claims Her Own
Before reaching Della Falls, however, the trail leads to Big Interior Mine which Joe Drinkwater discovered and attempted to work for a time, but transport difficulty being so great in a country such as this, he abandoned the attempt, and now has a shack near the shaft mouth is the only relic to show that once humans attempted to commercialize what Nature has now seized back for her own. From the shack, which Joe kept in good repair until he died, the trail crosses about two miles of loose rock and boulders until the foot of Della Falls are reached, and then one may stand and look up at the highest falls in the world tumbling down an almost perpendicular cliff 2,000 feet high. Up this cliff runs a path by the side of the falls, difficult even for a mountain goat, but now improved by cables, and those who are lucky enough to possess a steady foot and clear head can, if they wish, climb up the 2,000 feet to Della Lake, the starting place of the falls. But what a reward is theirs, for now before them lies the Big Interior Basin, with such peaks, such glacial lakes and such views that the Rocky Mountains and the mighty Himalayas are hard put to keep their glory in comparison. And this country lies on Vancouver Island, merely 170 or 180 miles from Victoria, and yet less than ten people in Canada have seen it. A paradise for Alpine climbers such as this should not be neglected, and such gems of scenic beauty as Cream Lake and Nine Peaks should be made more familiar to a beauty-loving public. Three days may well be spent in this great basin in which great fields of Alpine flowers bloom for none to gaze on, and it would even be possible to make an expedition across into Strathcona Game Preserve over the Interior Mountain, such as Joe Drinkwater wished to make before he died. For any wishing to enjoy a holiday in this part of the island, Alberni makes an excellent point from which to start, and marshal one’s forces, buy one’s supplies, and then by car or stage to the foot of the lake, where Burke’s launch will run to the head of the lake in about two hours. And a stay at any of the three cabins at the head will prove to be a holiday such as is never forgotten.
Was Tragic Passing
And now a few last words about Joe Drinkwater, who surely died one of the saddest deaths imaginable. Of latter years he had become rather enfeebled, yet, as he had lived alone for so long, the rare visit he paid to civilization did not allow his friends to notice the fact of his growing weakness, and it was not until he was found dead on the snow-clad lake shore, bleeding from a gash in the arm, that anyone realized the tragedy of his lonely death, sixteen miles from the human aid he was struggling to reach. It was presumed that he had cut himself while skinning a deer in his shack at the head of the lake and was making a desperate effort to reach help at the bottom—until he gave up the unequal struggle and turned his boat into the side of the lake to succumb to his loss of blood and exhaustion. So let us honor the memory of this fine old pioneer who died alone as he had lived, and who by his penetration of the hinterland behind the head of Great Central Lake made it possible for us to get a slight insight into the beauties of this most beautiful of islands.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday March 25, 1932, p.4.
Sir,— In Sunday’s Colonist I read Mr. Audain’s excellent account of Great Central Lake and Big Interior Basin, and I can support all he says about Joe Drinkwater. He was the most fearless prospector I have met. Mr. Audain is not quite right in calling the falls from Della Lake, “Drinkwater Falls.” They have always been known as Della Falls and are 2,075 feet high. I made a mineral survey of the district, I think in 1908, and my party made a survey from the outlet of Great Central Lake to and including Big Interior Basin. Our map can still be had at the Government Buildings. As no Indian names could be found I called the two creeks at the head of the lake, Drinkwater and McBride Creeks. Joe was too good a sportsman to name any place after himself. I named McBride Creek after Sir Richard, then Premier of the Province. I believe the Big Interior Basin is the finest bit of mountain scenery that can be easily reached on the Island.
Ladysmith, B.C., March 22, 1932.
Alpine Chalet is Picturesque
New Hut at Lake of The Seven Hills Visited by Hiking Parties During Holiday
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 27, 1932, p.2.
Beyond the skyline of the Sooke Hills there is rapidly nearing completion on of the most picturesque, spacious and durable lodges ever erected at such as altitude in that part of the Island. This is the chalet the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the Lake of the Seven Hills. Members and friends of the club who visited the camp during the holiday week-end found that such great progress had been made since the previous scheduled club visit, that although the official opening is not due to take place until June, it is obvious the building will be in use many weeks before this time. Walls, flooring, stairways and some of the trimmings are now practically complete, and provided the weather is favorable the next fortnight should see the work finished. A small working bee was held at the camp yesterday which effected appreciable additions, and several parcels of useful camp equipment were received as the result of the Easter “shower.”
Gradually the campus is assuming a well-established air. Dominating the picture is the two-story chalet, of heavy upright cedar logs, with wide windows and doors surmounted by horizontal logs. The main lounge, opening off a covered veranda, will have an enormous stone fireplace when finished, and over this will be the sleeping loft. The Swiss chalet style roof, chosen for the practical reason that it will be most effective in shedding snow, gives the building additional picturesqueness. Since the main camp last Summer an outdoor cook shed has been added, and there is also a well-placed rustic out-door dinning-room, the camp is assuming the dimensions of an important establishment worthy of its membership of approximately 100. The season is later this year than last, and several members who were entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Claude L. Harrison over the week-end at their neighboring camp at Grass Lake, were surprised with a light snowfall yesterday morning, which blanketed the surrounding hills in white.
Alpine Club Virile Body
Twenty-Sixth Anniversary Banquet Here Addressed by A. O. Wheeler
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 31, 1932, p.6.
The existence of a keen and virile Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada was amply testified at the annual banquet of the organization held last night at the Empress Hotel, when nearly forty members sat down at the daffodil and wild lily decked tables in the Duke of York private dinning-room. With Arthur O. Wheeler, veteran founder of the parent Alpine Club of Canada and president of the local section, in the chair; Gordon Cameron in the toastmaster’s seat conducting the community sing-song; Robert D. McCaw at the piano; brief addresses by Claude L. Harrison, William H, Dougan, Stanley H. Mitchell (former secretary of the parent club), Miss Thelma Thomson (Ladies’ Alpine Club of England) and James White, and solos or recitations by Mrs. R.D. McCaw, Harold J. Davis, Thomas Goodlake and Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming, the banquet was one of the most successful in the club’s history.
The sectional banquet always coincides with similar events by other sections throughout the continent celebrating the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Alpine Club of Canada. In his annual address, Mr. Wheeler recalled something of the early beginning of the club, which, despite many vicissitudes, was “going stronger then ever,” as evidenced by its numerous mountaineering activities; by its excellent publication, the Canadian Alpine Journal; by well-attended annual camps in the Rockies; flourishing clubhouse at Banff, where members and Alpine guests from all over the world foregather in the Summer, and the strong and active sections dotted all over the continent. The local section was heartily congratulated on its strong membership and its enthusiastic spirit, one of the best evidences of which was the programme of outings for the current season and the progress being made with the new clubhouse at the Lake of the Seven Hills. Such a club should serve as a very fine training ground for attendance at the main camps in the Rockies, and in this connection Mr. Wheeler expressed the hope that some of the members would find their way this year to the camp to be held at Roger’s Pass, in the Selkirks, or at Hector Lake, near Jasper.
In closing, the president repeated to the local section the message which, as founder, he had also sent to other sections throughout the continent, wishing them “A very happy Summer amidst the great hills,” and concluding with a characteristic panegyric testifying to his own appreciation, after practically a lifetime in the great-out-of-doors, of the “high summits” and the “great alplands.” This was received with long applause. Mr. Wheeler’s address was made in proposing the toast to “The Alpine Club of Canada,” to which Gordon Cameron responded by touching briefly on his own first associations with the main camp in 1914, paying a tribute to the veteran leader whose personality now practically stood as the symbol for the organization.
The Local Club
Something about the local sectional activities were touched upon by W.H. Dougan and C.L. Harrison, each of whom referred to the new club chalet at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Mr. Harrison, after giving a detailed description of the building, reminded members of the official opening on June 3, and expressed the hope that Mr. Arthur and Mrs. Clara Wheeler would be able to attend. Mr. Mitchell, who for many years was at the annual camps in the Rockies in his capacity of secretary, was enthusiastically applauded, and told something about the popularity which these camps enjoy among visitors from all parts of the world. Just recently he had had inquiries by letter from Vienna, Australia and Japan concerning climbing in the Rockies with the Alpine Club.
The sectional secretary, Guy Shaw, read some of the greetings from other Alpine Club sections, including Edmonton, Calgary, New York and Vancouver, who were observing the twenty-sixth anniversary at the same time. The Vancouver Island section had dispatched greetings to all sections mentioned in the Red Book. Miss Thomson, of the Ladies’ Alpine Club, England, expressed her pleasure in being present. In addition to the numerous community songs, there were much-enjoyed solos by Mrs. McCaw and H.J. Davis, the former singing “Happy Time” and “Little Boy Blue,” the latter “Duna,” “Passing By” and “Drumadoon.” The artists and Mrs. E.C. Posgate and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, who had charge of the decorations, were warmly thanked.
Alpine Club See Prevost
Interesting Expedition to Duncan District Made by Victoria Climbers
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 5, 1932, p.5.
The summit of Mount Prevost, Duncan, was the objective of the thirteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada who made the expedition last Sunday [April 3]. Under the leadership of Miss Janet Bell, the trip proved thoroughly delightful and interesting, and had the novelty of directing attention to a part of the Island which is seldom visited. With an altitude of 2,543 feet, the summit of Mount Prevost commands a wonderful prospect, north, south, east and west. Fortunately, the visibility was fairly good, so that the checkerboard-like effect of the well-cultivated Cowichan Valley agricultural country could be seen with Duncan, a compact little hamlet, nestling not far from the foot of the wooded slopes: Quamichan and Shawnigan Lakes fitting easily into the birds-eye landscape; and a broadening perspective embracing Crofton, Saltspring Island, details of the Saanich Inlet, and the surrounding Straits and Islands and mainland mountains.
The party left Victoria by motor at 9 o’clock and reached the foot of Mount Prevost about 11:30 o’clock after a brief stop at Duncan. The ascent was made via the north side, and before the summit was reached at 2 o’clock, considerable patches of snow, six and eight inches deep, the aftermath of Winter, were passed, with yellow violets and wild collinsea blooming nearby. Despite the recent heavy rains, the mountain is singularly devoid of running water, and for the tea served with the alfresco luncheon near the summit, one of the climbers carried water from a pool formed by melting snow 200 feet below.
Owing to the chill wind only a brief stay was made at the summit, barely sufficient to note the details of the view and make comparisons with the map; and to inspect the war memorial erected by citizens of Duncan and formerly dedicated on Armistice Day two years ago. This memorial, which is forty feet high, is fitted with a beacon that burns perpetually and by night can be seen scores of miles away. Appreciation of the Duncan citizens’ enterprise in erecting such a tower to the memory of men from the district who gave their lives in the war is enhanced by a visit to the summit and the realization of what it meant for the volunteer workmen who not only built the structure but carried all the materials by hand up the steep slopes of the mountain.
A marine lamp with which it is fitted was loaned by the Marine Department, and is similar to those used at sea. It is fed from an acetylene gas tank, which has to be replaced every three or four months. The replacement is also done by volunteers, the care of the beacon being under the administration of a board of trustees of which Captain Groves, of Duncan, is the chairman. The immediate surrounding area also is preserved against encroachment, the E. & N. Railway Company, which owns Mount Prevost, having presented the five or six acres of land round the tower. The present memorial replaces one of more temporary character erected immediately after the war by Duncan citizens. In the neighborhood is a smaller cairn erected many years ago by Indians of the district. Mount Prevost, reference to the Geological Survey Memoir of 1895 showed, was named by Captain Richards, of H.M.S. Plumper, after Captain (afterwards Admiral) Charles Prevost, of H.M.S. Satellite, on this station, 1857-60, and also on this station in 1850 on H.M.S. Portland, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Moresby, whose daughter he had married.
Alpinist Enjoy Two-Day Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 27, 1932, p.4.
A two-day expedition around the boundaries of the property in the Sooke Hills under the expert guidance of Claude L. Harrison, was the recent objective of members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Each member carried his sleeping equipment and food for the trip. Having walked halfway up the trail leading to the Lake of the Seven Hills, the party turned off and proceeded to measure the boundary and see if the old posts were still intact. However, as the last survey had been made in 1895, most of the posts were quite difficult to see, and the blazes on the trees were almost indecipherable. A camp was made that night on the bank of the East Sooke River, which flows along at the feet of Mount Ragged and Shepherd. Here two other energetic members joined the main party, having come along the trail leading to Ragged Mountain. A substantial dinner, followed by a blazing camp fire, refreshed the weary travelers, who listened with great enjoyment to extremely interesting and amusing stories by Mr. Harrison. Sleeping bags were all occupied by midnight. The next day the homeward route was taken straight across country to the Lake of the Seven Hills, where a stop was made for lunch and also to inspect the Hut, which is on the verge of completion.
Snow Baffled Young Climbers
Could Not Even Reach Cabin on Arrowsmith Trail
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 28, 1932, p.1.
PORT ALBERNI, April 26—Deep, wet snow that clung to the shoes and obscured all landmarks made tough going for the party of nine that made this season’s first attempt to scale Mount Arrowsmith, last Sunday. It was impossible to reach the cairn in the time at their disposal and no attempt was made to do so; as a matter of fact, the snow was so deep that all trail blazes were hidden and the hikers weren’t able to locate the cabin. Included in the party that left Port Alberni at 5:30 a.m. and returned at 8:00 p.m. were Evelyn Hanes, Dorothy Proctor, Verna Proctor, Chrissie Ross, Frank Clegg, Bud Walker, Fred Patton, Spence Burpee and Jack Harris.
See Fine View from Mt. Bruce
Alpine Club Makes Week-End Trip to Saltspring Island—Camp At Burgoyne Bay
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday May 4, 1932, p.5.
A splendid panorama was obtained on Sunday [May 1] from the top of Mount Bruce, Saltspring Island, by members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Looking in an easterly direction, the Gulf Islands could be seen in perspective, with the snowy wall of the Coast Range far away in the background. In the opposite direction could be seen the snow-covered peak of Mount Arrowsmith, and many smaller ones such as Mount Coronation, Mount Prevost, Mount Brenton, Mount Sicker and Mount Wood. Shawnigan Lake and Saanich Inlet were also visible from the 2,300-foot summit, the highest point on Saltspring Island. The party, headed by Claude L. Harrison, crossed to Saltspring Island by ferry on Saturday afternoon. Camp was made under the maples at Burgoyne Bay, with the frowning southwest face of Mount Maxwell directly above. After a hearty meal and a pleasant evening by the camp fire, they retired for the night. At half-past seven next morning the party, under the able leadership of Miss Kathleen Martin, set out for Mount Bruce. A short walk along the beach brought them to its foot, and the summit was reached after three and a half hours’ steady climbing up a thickly wooded slope, using the compass constantly. At 12 o’clock a stop was made for lunch, and the party returned to camp at 1:30 o’clock. At 2:30 o’clock they departed for Fulford Harbor, where they caught the afternoon ferry to Schwartz Bay, bringing to a close a most successful trip, made doubly enjoyable by the magnificent weather.
Mount Jocelyn Is Easy Ascent
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday May 10, 1932, p.3.
Favored by the fine weather of Sunday [May 8], the trip to Mount Jocelyn [Jocelyn Hill] by the Vancouver Island Branch of the Alpine Club of Canada fulfilled every expectation. The party proceeded by car and bicycle to a point on the west branch of Millstream Road. From there, capably led by Thomas Goodlake, a short trip through the woods by compass brought them to the foot of the mountain. The ascent was easy and delightful, because of the park-like slopes, the bright variety of wild flowers, and the constantly widening panorama of the surrounding country visible as the climb proceeded. From the summit, where the party rested and lunched, the view was superb. Below, to the west, lay Finlayson Arm, gleaming like polished steel in the sunlight and the Malahat, winding ribbon-like along the slope beyond. To the north lay Saanich Arm, with the hills of Saltspring in the distance, while to the east, as in a relief map, lay the Saanich Peninsula, James Island, Sidney Island, San Juan and other islands. About 4 o’clock, rather reluctantly, the return journey was begun. The route lay along the ridge of the mountain overlooking Finlayson Arm, and frequent pauses were made to admire the view. A short plunge into the woods and the members emerged on the road once more, and so to Victoria, ending a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Alpine Hut to Formally Open
About Fifty Alpinists Attending Ceremony in Sooke District Today
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday June 3, 1932, p.6.
About fifty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will attend the formal opening of the hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke District, today. A group left the city yesterday afternoon, carrying sleeping bags and other camping outfit, and the remainder of the expedition will leave town early this morning in order to make camp by midday to take part in the celebration’s attendant on the formal opening immediately after lunch. The vice-chairman, William H. Dougan; Claude L. Harrison, chairman of the hut and property committee; Gordon Cameron, treasurer; Guy M. Shaw, secretary, and Robert D. McCaw, chairman of the reception and entertainment committee, will participate in the programme, which will begin shortly after 1 o’clock, and their will also be community singing. Although there will be a camp fire and entertainment each evening during the three-day camp, tonight’s will have a special flavor in honor of the opening ceremonies marking the completion of the hut, which hereafter will be the pivot round which all the social life of the camp will move. Its construction completes an establishment which has generous accommodation for any club activities in the district, the dinning pavilion and outdoor kitchen (with concrete and stone oven) having been erected about eighteen months ago.
Alpine Club Hut Is Open
Large Number of Members Present at Interesting Ceremony Yesterday
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday June 4, 1932, p.6.
Cloudless skies and an enthusiastic representation of members attended at formal opening of the recently-completed Alpine Club hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke, yesterday. The ceremony was carried out following brief speeches by the vice-chairman of the Vancouver Island section, William H. Dougan, who gave a short history of the actual building operations; and Mr. Claude L. Harrison, chairman of the hut and property committee, who thanked various members for their help, financial and otherwise. Mrs. C.L. Harrison then, at the invitation of the vice-chairman, performed the ceremony of cutting the ribbons stretched across the veranda steps, and declared the picturesque building open. The ribbons were in the Alpine Club colors, green representing the forests, grey for the rocks, and white for snow. Moving pictures were taken while this ceremony was being carried out to the accompaniment of cheers and clapping by the spectators. Immediately thereafter members and guests entered the building for luncheon. The arrangements were remarkably attractive, the repast being prepared by Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mrs. Laws, Mrs. Guy Shaw and Mr. Campbell. One of the major dishes was supplied by Charles E. Whitney-Griffiths.
Hut And Property
A characteristic cheerfulness marked the occasion, speeches and community singing taking place during luncheon. Mr. Dougan called on Mr. Harrison to explain uses of the club, and Mr. Harrison expressed the hope that members would take advantage of their privileges and use the hut and property. The Hut, he noted, had accommodation for thirty-six persons, and the property, consisting of 180 acres embraces two and a quarter square miles. It was a source of great satisfaction to everyone to see the fulfilment of three years’ preparation and work. Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr, who has returned after an extended absence in England, was welcomed by the gathering, and to her and Mr. Harrison gave the credit for originating the idea of the hut. Mr. Dougan was particularly thanked for his untiring efforts in bringing the hut to completion, and the secretary, Guy Shaw, was also thanked for his energetic help. Mr. Campbell was also thanked, especially for his deft axmanship in connection with the stairs which lead to the upper floor, these being cut by broad axe. The stone fireplace, it was noted, has still to be built. Other brief speeches were made by Gordon Cameron, Captain William Everall, Reverend F.C. Chapman, Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr and Miss Sara Spencer.
Inspection of the hut followed, and revealed the solid durable character of the structure. Of the Swiss chalet type, its walls are constructed of vertically-placed logs hewn from trees cut on the property. The main room on the ground floor measures 20 by 30 feet; behind this are the kitchen and storeroom, with floors of hewn logs. A brick range in the kitchen is of such ample proportions that cooking can be carried out on a big scale with great ease. A feature noticeable from the front of the building is the great entrance door, finished with wrought-iron hinges and hasps, the work of Mr. Shields, art metal worker, of Sooke. The wide veranda at the front, which commands a fine view of the lake enclosed by the club property, has a floor of hewn logs impervious to the heaviest of Alpine boots, and a comfortable wide banister which serves as a seat. The windows are also unusually deep, the ledges forming the comfortable seats.
The upstairs, well finished to resist the cold breezes of night, extends the full width of the building, and will make a useful dormitory for members remaining overnight when it is too cold to sleep out of doors. The formal opening over, the members dispersed in all directions, some to spend the afternoon climbing, others for fishing or canoeing. Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr and Miss Sara Spencer presided at the tea table at the afternoon gathering, when the chief delicacy was the “birthday cake,” a ten-pound confection, which again exemplified the Alpine Club colors, while its decorations represented the path to the cairn on Mt. Survey. The days’ proceedings came to a happy termination with the campfire rally, when a good impromptu programme took place.
New Hut Completes Alpine Club Home
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 5, 1932, p.6.
Will Improve the Dove Creek Trail
Forbidden Plateau Camp Will Open on July 1st
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 23, 1932, p.5.
Phil Ryan and his gang have gone up the Dove Creek Trail to Camp 4 to clear out windfalls and improve the trail. It is hoped they will get permission to swamp out a new trail to cut out the ascent of the ridge beyond Camp 5. Harry McQuillan found a much easier grade last year which also has the merit of passing by a lookout giving a fine view of a 300-foot waterfall and a panorama of the lowlands to the north. If this were done it would make a very welcome break in what is rather a dull trail. Mr. Eugene Croteau is going in this week-end. He’s taking with him Ranson Cooke as guide and Barney Sullivan and J. Brand as cookies, while Mr. Croteau will have the help of Miss Dorothy Christian of Duncan in the kitchen. The camp will be open on the first of July. He’s going to have some special locked bags for mail this year and new tents and flies. Jack Murray and Stuart Wood will be packing at the regular rates at the end of the road and they are going to build a shed for accommodation of horses and feed at the end of the road. The Vancouver Province and other dailies have been giving the Plateau much space this year, and there’s likely to be many parties go up.
Alpine Camp on Plateau
Victorians Will Establish Camp Here This Year
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 30, 1932, p.2.
Mr. Claude L. Harrison is bringing the Vancouver Islands section of the Alpine Club of Canada to the Forbidden Plateau this year. The Vancouver Islands section of the Alpine Club of Canada will hold their Summer camp this year on Forbidden Plateau. The camp will be located on the shores of beautiful Circle [Circlet] Lake at the foot of Mt. Albert Edward. Mr. C.L. Harrison will be in charge and the ten days in camp will be spent exploring the hitherto unexplored areas of the Plateau. Circle Lake lies at an altitude of over 4,000 feet above sea-level and is fed the year round by streams from the melting snows and ice of the permanent hanging glaciers of Mt. Albert Edward. With in a short distance of the camp are other lakes which will provide warm water for bathing. Kamloops trout were planted in Circle Lake in 1930 and it was at this lake that fresh water shrimp were first discovered. They were later found to abound in all of the Plateau lakes. Fishing will however not be permitted in Circle Lake until 1933. All the supplies for the camp will be purchased at Courtenay stores and Mr. Jack Mitchell has been engaged as cook for the camp. Jack Murray and Stuart Wood have been engaged to pack supplies in to the camp and are supplying saddle horses for those who may wish to ride. Major Frederick V. Longstaff, F.R.G.S., will spend the latter part of July this year gathering information and data for mapping the area for the Royal Geographical Society. Major Longstaff has for many years considered the Forbidden Plateau to be an ideal site for a Swiss chalet. He has had a world-wide experience in Alpine work and exploration and is an authority of note on the subject. He has been ana active member of the Alpine Club of Canada since its inception in 1912. Major Longstaff has recently completed a survey of the bridge River district for the Royal Geographical Society.
More Trout to Be Planted
On the afternoon of June 29th, a half million Kamloops trout eggs arrived in Courtenay on their way to their destination, the Forbidden Plateau. They will be transported by truck for the first ten miles, where pack-horses will be waiting to take them in to the lakes on the Forbidden Plateau. Prior to 1929 all the lakes on the Plateau were absolutely barren of fish; now eighteen lakes have been stocked and it is expected that the remaining lakes will be planted this year. Large numbers of trout three and four pounds in weight were seen in the lakes last summer giving evidence of the local conditions prevailing there.
Alpine Club to Camp At Sooke
Party Of Twenty-Two to Go Under Canvas at Lake of The Seven Hills
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday July 1, 1932, p.7.
A party of twenty-two members from the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada went under canvas at the annual Summer camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke, today. Three members left yesterday to see that the place is in readiness for the six days’ occupation, and to complete the preparations for the subcamp at Mount Empress, where a party of climbers will bivouac on Saturday night. The remainder of the twenty-two members will go out tomorrow morning, the entire personnel of the party being as follows: Colonel Fred and Mrs. Marcella [nee Nairn] Bell (Vancouver), Miss Janet Bell, Miss Doris Bertram, Kenneth M. Chadwick, William H. Dougan, Capt. William Everall, Miss Eleanor Everall, Thomas Goodlake, Mr. and Mrs. Claude L. Harrison, Miss Hinder, Miss M. Hodge, Mrs. Sylvia Holland, H.B. Jones, Mrs. John Nairn, J. Osborn, Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe, C.H. Rutherford, Mr. and Mrs. Guy M. Shaw, Basil and Dick Shaw, and Miss Edith Willcox. Immediately after this camp another party of fourteen members will leave for the annual camp at the Forbidden Plateau, which opens on July 9.
To Explore New Regions of Island
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 13, 1932, p11.
Leave for Alpine Club Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday July 14, 1932, p.8.
Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Posgate have left by motor for the Canadian Alpine Camp at Glacier National Park [Mount Sir Donald] where they will holiday for some time.
Plateau Still Awaits Summer
Local Alpine Club Group Is Delayed By Weather At Annual camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday July 19, 1932, p.5.
The heavy rains of last week considerably interfered with the programme of the party of Vancouver Island Alpine Club members, who are camping at the Forbidden Plateau. The intention was to climb a number of virgin peaks and explore new terrain, but continued wet weather and heavy going early in the week altered the plans. One of the happy incidents of the expedition has been the meeting with Eugene Croteau, who accompanied the first organized expedition into the Forbidden Plateau in 1928. On that occasion the Alpine Club joined with the Courtenay and Comox Mountaineering Club in a very successful camp, and a rehearsal of some of the happenings of that memorable camp filled a very happy hour with Mr. Croteau, who recalled the members individually. This year’s expedition, although much smaller than that of 1928 and much less fortunate in respect of weather, has been fortunate in having an expert camp cook. Jack Mitchell, who is noted as trapper and woodsman also. He had everything in readiness for the party, with main tents already up, also dinning table and stone fire-place, so that despite the rain which persisted intermittently for the last three days, everyone was comfortable, dry, warm and well-fed. Summer on the plateau, as elsewhere on Vancouver Island, is much later than usual, and Claude L. Harrison, who is in charge of the expedition, reports that snow is still falling on the mountains, and heavy banks of snow lie in all directions in the immediate neighborhood of the camp at Circle [Circlet] Lake. Mount Albert Edward was the objective on Thursday.
At Forbidden Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday July 20, 1932, p.8.
The Forbidden Plateau is proving a most popular resort this Summer and several large parties are at present in camp. Among those who recently registered are Mr. Claude. L. Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Guy M. Shaw, Miss Kathleen Martin, Miss Marjorie Hadley, Miss Erminie Bass, Miss Janet Bell, Mr. Thomas Goodlake, Mr. W.H. Warren and Miss Edith Willcox (Boston), representing the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, and also Mr. and Mrs. George Jack, Bernard Jack, Mr. Edward O’Sullivan, Miss Dorothy Turnbull, Miss Margaret Park, all of Vancouver; Messrs. Alec Stewart, D.C. Thomas, N.B. Brown, T. Tame, J. Ethel M. Bruce, W. Reverend J.W. Green, W.G. Scott, A. Trotter, T. Prestell, G.W. Hodgson, Miss Ruth Thomas, Mr. R. Cook, all from Courtenay; Mr. Hugh Baker, Duncan; Mr. Carl Erickson, Mr. Harry H. Beadnell, Comox; Messrs. Henry, Norman, Joseph and Isaac Parkin, Headquarters, B.C.; Mr. H. Edwards, Saanichton; Mr. C. Castley, Lake Cowichan; Miss Dorothy Christian, Hillbank, B.C.; Miss Betsy Turnbull, Grantham’s Landing, B.C.; Messrs. Harry Leonard and Richard “Dick” Idiens, Royston, B.C.; Miss Dorothea Hay, Miss Thelma Schroeder, Mrs. Ethel Lohbrunner, Mr. Edmund Lohbrunner and Mr. Chester Price, all of Victoria.
With Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday July 30, 1932, p.8.
Among those who attended the camp of the Alpine Club of Canada at the Mount Sir Donald Camp in the Selkirks Range are Arthur O. Wheeler, of Sidney, B.C., president of the club; Brigadier-General Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe, K.C.M.G., of London, England, temporarily resident in Victoria, and Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Posgate, also of Victoria. Sir Charles, as an authority on aerial topographical work, entertained the camp one evening with talk on the subject.
Many Going to Plateau
Despite Uncertain Weather Dove Creek Trail is Busy Spot
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 4, 1932, p.1.
All the world and his wife are going up to the Forbidden Plateau this month. The end of the trail, where Messrs. Stuart Wood and Jack Murray saddle up, is a very busy spot and so is Croteau’s Camp. The trail is muddy and wearisome but is rapidly drying out. A veritable cavalcade left on Tuesday morning for the Forbidden Plateau: and there will be another big contingent go up on Friday when the Hon. R.H. Pooley, Mrs. Pooley and daughter Phyliss intend to camp at Panther Lake for the fishing. Major Frederick Longstaff, who is writing a history of Vancouver Island, has been on the Plateau for two weeks. He came down this week. On Tuesday Mr. Clinton S. Wood on the instruction of the Courtenay City Council, left with Mr. H. Hunt, Assistant Fisheries Engineer for the Dominion Government in the province. Mr. Hunt wants to see the waterworks dam and if it is preventing the spawning of trout that are now in the lakes. Mr. Wood will show that it is such a simple obstruction that with a very little work done can be lowered so as to allow the fish to go up. With Mr. Hunt is his wife. Mrs. Scott, his mother-in-law, an old lady of 81, accompanied them to Courtenay and is taking great interest in the in the district. She will remain down here until the party returns. Mr. and Mrs. Heber Cooke went up on Tuesday. Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul, Miss H Paul and Arthur Paul went up on Tuesday. Mr. Robert Baird, Inspector of Municipalities brought his wife and Miss Helen Baird to Courtenay and they have gone up to the Plateau. The Reverend Robert Connell, the naturalist and Mr. Edward Grieg have been on the Plateau. Mr. Connell has been making a study of the flora there.
Alpine Club in Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 4, 1932, p.2.
(The following article on the Alpine Club camp on the Plateau has been written for us by its leader, Mr. Claude L. Harrison. It was most unfortunate that they should have such abominable weather for practically their whole stay.) The trip into the Forbidden Plateau by the Alpine Club, Vancouver Island section, was held a little earlier than the memorable trip of 1928. This was done to enable the members to attend the Main Club, which was to hold its camp at Rogers Pass on the Mainland. The party consisted of Mr. Guy M. Shaw and Mrs. Shaw, Mr. W.H. Warren, Miss Marjorie Hadley, Miss Janet Bell, Miss Kathleen Martin, Miss Erminie Bass, Mr. Thomas Goodlake, and Miss Edith Willcox from Boston. The party left Victoria on 9th of July and passed on to the Dove Creek Trail at 3 o’clock. They camped the first night on the way in at what is known as Camp 5, a shelter erected by Mr. Jack Mitchell, who was in charge of cooking arrangements for the party.
Fog And Rain
The following day rain commenced to fall and continued until we arrived at the camp, which was situated about 100 yards to the south-east of Circle [Circlet] Lake. The camp has already been set up by Jack Mitchell, and in spite of the heavy rainfall the camp suffered little inconvenience. For six days and nights rain and sleet fell unceasingly, except for two hours in one afternoon. The Plateau had much snow, but the snow was hard and of good quality and it made travel very easy. The rain and sleet was not the serious drawback that the fog was. The fog lifted but seldom until the sixth day. However, in spite of the rain, parties left the camp also daily for different points of interest, and left the high mountain work until the sky had cleared. In the meantime, much work was done in the shape of gathering flora. Mr. Warren (who is superintendent of city parks) made a very large collection. The main Plateau itself was gone over for the purpose of revising the map made in 1928, and when the sky had cleared on the sixth day, this work was completed in the higher regions. During the last three day at camp, parties under Mr. Guy Shaw and myself went into new territory. The new territory was north-westerly from Circle [Circlet] Lake and south-westerly from the mountain range behind Mount Albert Edward. The usual main objectives of the range behind the Plateau were covered, including Mount Albert Edward, Mount Arthur [Mount Jutland] the range back of the Castle [Castlecrag Mountain], and other mountains within the Plateau. Much data was collected from the tops of the different mountains ascended. Difficulty was experienced on two days owing to fog, in particular an expedition lying to the south-west of Mount Albert Edward under Mr. Guy Shaw, who spent many hours in the fog, returning when evening fell. The fog was so heavy that had it not been for good judgement, the party would not have been able to return to cap at nightfall.
Expanse Of Red Snow
On the back of Mount Arthur, the red snow made a rather remarkable spectacle when the party went down a glacier of 600 feet. The snow on top was white but the track cut down the glacier happened to reach a strata of red snow. The tracks in the snow therefore appeared as long streaks of red, while surrounding snow, of course, was white. This was somewhat remarkable because the red snow is generally in patches. The sunshine of the last three days brought out the bloom of many flowers, the late spring having held the bloom back later than most years. The effect was most unique—miles of heather commencing bloom all at once, as well as the phlox and other flowers at the higher elevations.
Fishing Should be Protected
The fishing on the Plateau is apparently very good. It is quite apparent that the fish have increased in size to an unusual extent, and it was also noted that the eggs planted in 1929 have not only developed into large trout, but the trout have apparently laid their own eggs in the Plateau and a second generation of trout are in evidence every where. They can be seen in the evening jumping in Panther Lake, Lake Beautiful and the small lakes connected with water. If the fishing is carefully looked after, it should afford the best fishing perhaps in British Columbia. The party left on the morning of the 19th., after having a most enjoyable trip in spite of the bad weather, and in spite of the difficulty with fog, and on two occasions, snow storms in the mountain ranges. The return trip was made over the Strathcona Trail to Mount Becher hut, arriving in Courtenay in the late afternoon and leaving for Victoria the same day. The comment I have to make on the Plateau is this: The Plateau should be under control, particularly the fishing, particularly by someone upon the ground. The Mount Becher hut should be repaired, the ground in the vicinity cleaned up, and the defacing of the logs removed. The Strathcona Trail for the last few miles should be cleared and made available to the public.
Two Hundred Have Already Visited Croteau Camp
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 11, 1932, p.7.
In spite of the weeping skies of July 1932, more people came to the Plateau in that month than last year and Mr. Eugene Croteau has slept and dined 200 people already. The owner of the only camp on the Plateau has moved his camp this year from the side of the lake to its end. He has built his new log dinning room with a view of the great snow-clad range to the west from the Castle [Castlecrag] to the blunt nose of Mount Albert Edward, 7,000 feet in the air. The guests have complete privacy in their widely scattered tents, they need only meet at the dinning table if they so wish. This fall Mr. Croteau plans further expansion. He is going to build a bungalow and lounge which will boast a fire-place and concrete foundations. Guests so far have come from: Grantham; Vancouver; Courtenay; Victoria; Ladysmith; Chemainus; Cobble Hill; Comox; Cumberland; Esquimalt and Berkeley, California.
Back from Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 14, 1932, p.8.
Mrs. Robert Baird and her daughter, Helen, have returned from a week’s hiking and climbing in the Forbidden Plateau country, with Croteau’s camp at headquarters. In company with Mr. and Mrs. Hunt, of Vancouver, Miss Helen Baird made the ascent of Mount Albert Edward during the holiday.
One of the hardiest women climbers in the Forbidden Plateau area this Summer is Mme. Olga Stavrakov, Russian resident of this city [Victoria] for several years past, who is spending some weeks in this popular Island alpine resort this Summer. Despite the fact that she is well past her seventieth year, Mme. Stavrakov, who has climbed mountains in half a dozen countries of the world, made the long trip on foot alone into Croteau’s camp, and has been activity climbing and exploring in the district ever since.
Jack Mitchell And His Pancakes
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 18, 1932, p.2.
By Bruce Hutchinson
Perhaps it is because I am inherently depraved, perhaps it is because I have been coarsened by long contact with the reading public, perhaps it is because I don’t mind telling the truth but, anyway, my memories of places are mostly gastronomical. I could identify almost any place in British Columbia by its food; Kamloops by Wing’s lamb chops; Kelowna by its fried chicken of a low dump not far from the lake; Barkerville by its mutton stew; Paul Lake by Mrs. Scott’s gooseberry pie; the Allison Pass by its fried trout, each precisely nine inches long; Hazelton by Mrs. Newick’s six desserts at each meal; Qualicum by chump chops cooked on a stick over a beach fire, and so on. The list is almost endless, I could go on making your mouth water for several columns, but I doubt the results would be worth my efforts. All I want to convey at the moment is that I have just discovered a new specimen to add to my collection; a magnificent specimen this, all the more valuable since I happened on it unexpectedly, and wouldn’t believe it at first because of an old and deep-rooted prejudice. I mean I have discovered pancakes. Do not mistake me and turn away in disgust to read the more elevating comics and Dorothy Dix. These, my friend, are no ordinary pancakes, and they are worth a little of your time. As for me they will forever be connected in my mind with the Forbidden Plateau. I shall never see pancakes again, but I shall think of that magic land of lakes and heather up above Courtenay and, out of respect to the pancakes of the Forbidden Plateau, I shall never eat again the inferior ones which are breed in the heavy, deadening air of sea level. I feel pretty sure that such pancakes could not be made at sea level. I know positively that they could not be made by anyone except Mr. Mitchell of Courtenay, without whom, to cook and guide and tell stories around the camp fire, no one should think of venturing to the Forbidden Plateau. I met Jack Mitchell and his pancakes simultaneously the other night. We had come seventeen miles on a mountain trail, climbing 4,000 feet is a big day for people like me. We were coming across an alpine meadow just at dusk. Mount Albert Edward over our right shoulder, a white crescent moon over our left. Two deer, grazing in the long, lush grass twenty yards away, watched us contemptuously for awhile, and then walked slowly onto the bush. It was just then that I saw the gleam of a camp fire through the trees and an aroma seemed to float from it, a sweet, unearthly smell like those airs of Paradise, which you may smell some day if you are not earthly and depraved like me. We urged the pack horses on towards the gleam and the smell. We hadn’t eaten for a long, long time. When we got closer, I could see a man crouching by the fire with a great iron griddle in his hand and by him a tin filled with some white stuff. This was Jack Mitchell, and he was preparing his magic. He heard the tinkle of our bell mare coming down the long hill from Croteau’s camp, and he was making pancakes for us. I sat down feeling very disappointed, very tired and very empty. I felt that the sweet smell I had smelled across the meadows was a false and treacherous smell, for if there is anything I despise (and there are quite a lot) it is pancake. A pancake to me is a flat spiritless fellow, pale of face, stolid of disposition and with a heaviness about him which remains with me long after he has been eaten. To come seventeen miles by mountain trail, hanging on to the tail of a horse for support, to come up to the Forbidden Plateau and then to be greeted by a pasty-faced pancake, this seemed more than I could bear on a tired spirit and empty stomach. Still, life must be sustained even on the Forbidden Plateau. By the light of the camp fire, in the chill thin mountain air, I ate one of Jack Mitchell’s pancakes, gingerly as a man might tackle a strange Chinese dish. Then a strange thing happened. I can only say I ate twelve of Jack Mitchell’s pancakes and would have eaten twelve more if it hadn’t been for his beefsteaks, his fried trout and his bacon. And the next morning I did the same thing again. I fully expected to die, to perish on the rim of the Plateau, but I thought the pancakes were worth it. But instead, I lived with a new fervor, a new gusto which carried me for miles over the Forbidden Plateau and will survive long enough, I hope, to carry me back there again some day. I like to watch an artist at work. I mean a real artist, a painter, a carver or a teller of tales. Jack Mitchell is such an artist, but his pictures are painted in a frying pan, his poems are writ in flour. See how he mixes the batter, how he warms the pan to a sizzling heat, how he drops the batter with a deft twist of the spoon, how he turns the pancakes over with a single flip just at the right moment. Then taste the rich brown flavor of them, the airy lightness of them, the crispness of their outsides, the mealy goodness of their innards. Taste them but do not expect to find them anywhere else. They can be made, alas, only with the thin air of the Forbidden Plateau to raise them, with the crystal snow water of the little alpine lakes to moisten them, with the deft hand of Jack Mitchell to turn them, with long experience and ripe wisdom of Jack Mitchell to season them. This, you see is no ordinary chef, no mere cooker of food or maker of camps. Jack is an artist and yet something more than an artist; a poet rather, I would say. Into his cooking goes more than mere skill. Something of the out-of-doors, something of what he has found out by forty years in the bush goes into it, the spirit of the Forbidden Plateau goes into it. You realize, as you sit about the camp fire, that when a seventy-foot log dropped on Jack Mitchell a few years ago the world almost lost a good fellow, but what would have been infinitely worse, because such creatures are so scarce, it would have lost a superb cook. There are plenty of good fellows but not many men who can make pancakes. I mean pancakes what are pancakes. Since the big log fell on Jack and dealt him injuries sufficient to kill ten men, he can work in logging camps no more, and he cooks instead for people who go up to the Forbidden Plateau. You shouldn’t go there without him or you will miss half the fun. You will miss the pancakes and you will also miss strange tales around the camp fire at night; of Jack Mitchell’s pet bull elk which lives in a certain meadow not far off and is almost as tame as a dog; of the day Jack shot five cougar within half an hour; old trapping days when Jack Mitchell and his partner had an Imperial quart of pre-war rum hidden under the floor of each of the nine cabins, just in case of emergencies, which seemed to happen every night; of the three-legged deer which use to roam about these hills as spry as any of its four-legged brothers; of the little caches of tea and sugar and jam which Jack has strewn about the entire countryside in hollow trees so that he can always get a meal when he wants it. Yes, assuredly you should let Jack Mitchell of Courtenay guide you about the country and then you will miss none of the scenery.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 18, 1932, p.2.
Dick Idiens introduced a section of the Beaufort Range to some hiking friends of his on Sunday [August 14]. He has found a way from the east coast of the island to the west across the Beaufort Range. It is by no means an easy way, but that doesn’t bother Dick. As the Psalmist might say, he boundeth over the hill-tops like a deer, like a mountain goat he skippeth over the high places. It is possible to get two thousand feet of elevation by the old planked logging road over which Grant Brothers hauled logs for so many years. This alone is worth the trip as an expedition of “hell-winder” logging with a truck on a 22% grade. From the spar tree at Grants, Dick has blazed a trail to the top of the Beaufort Range, or Mount Joan, according to the Geodetic survey mark. It avoids a bypass but beyond that makes very little concession to old Man Gravity. From the ridge to the east, there is a superb view of the coastline from Qualicum Beach to Oyster River, and from Mount Joan there is a very fine air picture of the Comox Alberni Pass, Great Central Lake and the Alberni Canal. The giants of Strathcona Park are also seen from a new angle. Dick has made this part of the Beaufort his happy hunting ground and it presents some fine views of the interior of the island, and there is plenty of climbing for those who are young and supple and strong in wind and limb. Dick has evolved his own style of pack. Out of the billycan he carried on his back, he can produce savory dishes much as a conjurer finds eggs in his top hat, and rabbits up his sleeve.
Another young climber, who is blazing new trails is young Gray Hill. He has just come back from a jaunt out of Buttles Lake to the Plateau via Alexandra Peak. He walked four miles up Buttles Lake and then set his course for Alexandra Peak, climbing it on his way to the Forbidden Plateau. He took eight days on the trip and made it alone. It’s very tough country and a tough trip, he says.
The Forbidden Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday August 20, 1932, p.4.
Sir—I shall be glad if you will find space for the follow letter, as there are many of your readers who desire certain information concerning the new high camping and walking area known as the Forbidden Plateau, reached from Courtenay. Since November, 1925, I have kept in touch with Mr. Clinton S. Wood in making the Forbidden Plateau accessible to the lovers of nature and those who desire a holiday at 4,000 feet above the sea. I have followed with interest the trail making activities of Mr. Wood and his ultimate success in obtaining the construction of a Provincial trail from Dove Creek to Croteau Lake, at the foot of Mount Elma, a distance of about twelve miles. The trail being complete, a standing camp became a necessity, and this has been provided by Mr. Eugene Croteau, a Canadian mine camp manager and caterer of more than thirty years’ experience in high camps in Southern British Columbia. Mr. Croteau is a most charming host to every visitor, a remarkable camp cook, a baker of bread, a packer, axeman and a carpenter. He now has a long log cabin, which contains a kitchen at one end, and the greater portion is a long dinning-room with chairs and tables and a stove. The camp is prettily situated on the eastern side of the small Croteau Lake, with a fine view to the west, showing Mount Albert Edward, about 7,000 feet. There are tents spread about amongst the mountain hemlocks and on the heather and grass, and each is equipped with spring beds, blankets, sheets and pillows, so that the visitors do not have to bring bedding or food. The charge for the meals is 75c a time and $1 per night for a bed and share of a tent. The water supply is good and the camp sanitation reaches a high standard of excellence. The trail this season has been muddy, and the twelve miles to ascend 4,000 feet is all through primeval forest and parts of the route are very steep even for pack horses. The pack train is worked by M. John Murray, formerly of Nicola, where he packed for many years before the war, and he is one of the most careful packers I have ever seen. He is assisted by Mr. Stuart Wood, of Courtenay. The pack train is scheduled to leave the barn on Dove Creek road every Tuesday and Friday between 8 and 9 a.m. for the Croteau Camp and takes up the locked mail bag from the Courtenay Post Office. Everybody desiring information about the camp and plateau is asked to write direct to Mr. Eugene Croteau, who will be only to pleased to give full information about the camp and charges for the same. Cars can be parked at the end of the road in the forest clearing where the trail starts. The pack train barn is on the south side of the Dove Creek road, about two miles from the beginning of the twelve-mile trail. There are six old deserted camp sites along the trail where people can rest. Mr. Murray can be reached by mail and letters should be addressed to him care of the Postmaster at Courtenay, B.C. It is advisable to go up on the same day as the pack train, as there are generally people waiting above to come down with the train and thus the cost of horse hire is shared and the return journey has not to be paid for by the same person. The charge for the saddle horse is $2.50 if the return journey is already filled. The rate for baggage is 4c a pound, and kit bags or compact bundles, as they have to fit closely to the pack saddles on a horse’s back so as not to catch in the tree trunks. All visitors are urged to take boots with soles at least three-quarters of an inch thick and well nailed and greased or oiled, also a complete change of clothing and a third pair of socks or stockings. A field glass or telescope will come in very handy, as will also a reliable compass. There is a little hill named Elma, on the north side of Croteau Lake, from the southern end of which a fine view may be had of much of the plateau, including the following mountains: Alexandra, Albert Edward, Castle [Castlecrag], the Camel [Argus Mountain], Pillar [The Red Pillar] and the Dome with the huge Comox Glacier. Some of the lakes are now open for trout fishing, but the other shores are mostly shallow and there are no boats at present. The present season is three weeks late, hence snow is to be found lying in spots which are usually clear at this time of the year, and many of the patches on the mountains will not clear off at all this Summer. Fresh trails are being blazed and old ones improved. Mr. Claude L. Harrison is to be commended for laying out the trail for Castle Peak [Castlecrag Mountain] along the lower side of Moat Lake and over the Cruikshank Falls, which will save much time in future. At the same time, experienced frontiersman will always be able to find a deer trail going in the direction he wants, but they are often very steep. Much information as to the geology and botany can be obtained from the excellent articles by reverent Robert Connell in local newspapers, who, by the way, was again on the Plateau this Summer and inspected Strata Mountain near Circle [Circlet] Lake. For some years I have been in favor of completing a motor road into the plateau, but since I have seen the country and gone over the many factors I have changed my opinion and think it is in the best interest both of the tourist and the City of Courtenay to keep the end of the wagon road at least six miles from Croteau Lake. By all means have a good grade pack trail so that anything reasonable can be carried up to the camp or camps, but under the present conditions it is absolutely necessary to keep all motor cars right away from the plateau, then it will be both preserved for and accessible to the lovers of nature and the great out-of-doors. It is necessary to cultivate the practice of making a stay of a week or so at this beautiful area at an altitude of 4,000 feet, instead of just a rush up and down in two or three days. I hope it will soon become a natural health resort and that very little expenditure will be incurred by anybody or company. It is not necessary. I have come to these conclusions after studying the tourist system in Switzerland and in the Rocky Mountains for many years. Much has been left out of this letter for want of space.
Major (Ret.) F.V. Longstaff
Charter Member, Canadian National Parks Association
50 Highland Drive, Victoria, B.C.
August 18, 1932.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 25, 1932, p.7.
The unsettled weather has thinned the ranks of the hikers going up the Dove Creek Trail to the Forbidden Plateau; but now that the glass has gone up they will be setting their faces that way again. Arrivals at the camp have come from: Victoria; Comox; Courtenay; Grantham; Duncan; Vancouver; Britannia Beach; Bevan; Sandwick; Toronto; Qualicum Beach; Trail; Royston and Brentwood Bay.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday August 26, 1932, p.8.
Captain and Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming were hosts at a delightful beach picnic at “La Brulay,” Sea View Road, Cadboro Point last evening [August 25], the guests being members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Round a log fire the evening was passed with Alpine songs, recitations and other extempore entertainment, the refreshments consisting of “corn-boil” and hot dogs. Mr. Claude L. Harrison, outings convener for the club, made a happy little speech, in which he reviewed the progress of the club, with special reference to the fulfilment of the ambition to possess a hut at the club property at the Lake of the Seven Hills. About fifty members attended including Mr. William H. Dougan, Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Captain and Mrs. Fleming, Miss Aylard, Miss Edith Bell, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Chadwick, Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Davis, Miss Angela Davis, Mr. H.G. Dixon, Captain William Everall, Miss Eleanor Everall, Mr. Thomas Goodlake, Miss Hadley, Mrs. Frank Holland, Mr. F.C. Jones, Colonel and Mrs. Laws, Miss Margaret Little, Mrs. Hugh, Mackenzie, Miss Kathleen Martin, Mrs. John Nairn, Dr. and Mrs. Mitchell, Sir Charles Delme- Radcliffe, Mr. C. Rutherford, Miss Sara Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Shaw, Mr. Basil Shaw, Mr. Richard Shaw, Dr. Watson, Mr. and Mrs. James White, Miss Edith Wilcox, Mr. Charles Whitney-Griffiths, Mr. Austin Wilson, Miss Catherine Wollaston and Miss Nancy Wollaston.
Alpine Club Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 1, 1932, p.6.
Owing to the doubtful weather conditions the scheduled Alpine Club Labor Day week-end expedition to Sproat Lake has been cancelled, and instead a small camp will be organized for the Lake of the Seven Hills for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, for which a number of members have registered their names.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 8, 1932, p.2.
There are still quite a number of visitors at Croteau’s Camp on the Forbidden Plateau in spite of the unsettled weather. The Reverend Gerard L. Bourdillon came down on Tuesday [September 6] after a hurried visit. He had the satisfaction of catching a two-pound trout in Panther Lake. Arrivals have come from: Comox; Victoria; Sandwick; Vancouver; Nanaimo and East Wellington.
European Guest at Alpine Camp
Lake-of-The-Seven-Hills Camp Visited by Walter Buxbaum, Vienna Pianist on Sunday
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 21, 1932, p.5.
Among those who visited the September camp of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills during the week-end was Walter Buxbaum, the well-known young pianist of Vienna, Austria, who is staying in the city at the present time. Accompanied by George A. Bucklin, United States Consul, and Mrs. Bucklin, Mr. Buxbaum made the hike up to the hut on Sunday, and joined the ten or twelve members who went in the previous day. An enthusiastic climber when he is in Austria and Switzerland, he expressed great delight in the splendid stimulus to outdoor activities which the Alpine Club gives here and, in the Rockies, and said he hoped to be able to visit the camp again before he left Victoria. The camp was a comparatively quiet one on this occasion, the members co-operating under Guy Shaw’s direction, in the completion of the fire guard which has been cleared on the west side of the hut as a protection against possible mishap from forest fire. The guard is sixty feet wide and 400 feet long, and represents considerable labor on the part of the voluntary work parties during several week-ends. September has seen a resumption of outings, Mount Newton being climbed the previous week by sixteen members who afterwards met at Island Beach for a clam-bake, Kenneth M. Chadwick being in charge of the details of this successful outing. Neville Hayne will have charge of the half-day expedition to Mount Helmcken next Saturday. Two more camps are scheduled to take place at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, the first to be at Thanksgiving, October 10 and the final one from November 11 to 13, inclusive, this ending the activities for 1932.
Courtenay Hikers Take 24-Hour Jaunt
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday, September 29, 1932, p.1.
To promote circulation and by way of a little exercise, Sid Williams, Jack Bowbrick and Roy Harrison undertook a marathon twenty-four-hour hike round the hills and home again. They left the end of Dove Creek Road at midnight on Saturday, and arrived at Croteau’s camp at 6:15, where they were warmly received by Mr. Croteau and Len Rossiter and given a bumper breakfast. They reached the top of Mount Albert Edward at noon and followed the range south to the Castle [Castlecrag Mountain] which they reached at three o’clock. They came down to Moat Lake and went through to the junction of the Dove Creek and Mount Becher trails together. Sid then struck off for Mount Becher, while the other two came home by Dove Creek. Sid arrived back at Bevan at half past eleven having been on the trail for twenty-four hours. He confessed that his feet were a little sore next morning.
Forbidden Plateau in Rhyme
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 29, 1932, p.2.
(The Nanaimo Herald recently published a story in verse of the progress of three valiant men of the County Seat who climbed Mount Albert Edward. The party were J.A. Swanson, East Wellington, J.C. Dakin and P.R. Inkster. Which of the three wrote the verse is not disclosed.)
James August Swanson, may his tribe increase,
Vowed that some day, prior to his demise,
Mount Albert Edward he would ascend,
And so, conforming to his noble end,
Three trusty friends, he kindly did invite
To share his joys, and with extreme delight
We plan our journey to the Mount of Gold.
Succeeding hikes had made Jim Swanson bold,
And with kerchief red tied round his neck,
Waves high his staff, says to his boys “by heck”
The one who falters, either night or morn,
Twere better far, that he had ne’er been born.
And as his piercing glance surveyed each fan,
Each vowed a vow to follow meekly on.
By Courtenay’s plains we hit the muddy trail,
Which muddier grew, in spite of joke and tale.
Whiles, stumbling o’er some root, that treacherous lies,
Beneath a foot of slush, unseen by eyes,
That scan for foothold, that might safely keep
An erring footstep, less than ankle deep.
Whiles, groaning ‘neath unearthly heavy packs
Of food and clothes, of tins and such knickknacks,
Clearly not meant to fit on human backs.
King Charles leads, and James takes up the rear,
While Art and Pete, partly with hope and fear,
Plod on, and on, o’er root and stump and log.
Charlie’s bald spot, like a lighthouse in the fog
Shines clear ahead, an ever-moving goal,
Like land of refuge for a weary soul,
Faster one goes, faster the spot moves on,
O’er hill and meadow till the day has gone.
And as the shades of eve fall soft and damp,
We view the cheerful light of Croteau’s Camp,
Where supper laid, we nobly did our share.
Food never tasted just as it did there.
Art sots the pace, the others ably follow,
It seemed as if our very legs were hollow.
But to our tale—we had come here to seek
The towering heights of Albert Edward’s Peak.
And in the morn, the lad’s glad lightsome hearts,
We hit the trail again for distant parts.
The path winds out and in by lake and rill,
By flowering meadows beckoning, until
One’s very soul stands still in ecstasy.
Mists linger round like silvery tapestry,
Adorning crag and peak in various hue,
Which dome of sky surmounts in azure blue,
The blooming heather springs, as if to greet
The stranger pressing it beneath his feet.
Dear blooming heather, sweetest sight on earth,
Carrying us back to land that gave us birth,
Awakening memories of distant day.
In retrospect we are again at play,
Anticipation yearning for the time
To leave the old homestead, for distant clime;
But, however distant, time can ne’er erase
The blissful memories of boyhood days.
Ere peak is reached, we cross the fields of snow,
Packed hard as rock, as seasons come and go.
Steep precipice and glacier edge here meet
Yawning ten score of fathoms neath our feet.
Streams—silvery streams—fall down by day and night
To dizzy depths, from yonder dizzy height.
Birds of the snow, the pretty ptarmigan,
Stand tamely by, quite unafraid of man,
Upward we go, by glacier, crag and creek,
And reach our goal, Mt. Albert Edward’s Peak.
But here my simple muse doth fold her wings,
Words fail the writer, though the heart still sings
As beauteous grandeur, in profusion spreads,
From Seymour Narrows to the far Sands Heads,
A score of lakes in half a dozen miles
Are set like gems, in various shapes and styles,
The wonderous shades and colours they collect,
To eye for passing artists now reflect.
Forest and meadow at out feet,
Combine to make the joy of life complete,
And as the summer sun glints through the trees,
Where blue spruce wave their branches in the breeze,
King Solomon was not arrayed like these.
Reluctantly we homeward wend our way,
And vow again to meet some other day,
And view some other spot on this blest Isle,
Where nature with her bounty, casts her smile.
So, Au Revoir until another time,
When we again can put our thoughts in rhyme.
Plateau Camp is Now Closed
Season Was Greatly Affected by Broken Weather
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 6, 1932, p.1.
Everyone’s down from the Plateau and it will sleep again in solitude until next year. Mr. Eugene Croteau came down at the end of last week having closed up his camp. If the weather holds there may be some parties go up yet as long as this glorious weather lasts but they will have to look after themselves. The weather was so broken that it was folly to expect any large number to make the trip. If normal summer conditions had prevailed there is no doubt there would have been many more parties go in and stay. Before he came out Mr. Croteau had a big stove taken in for his kitchen, which will be a great help to him in catering next year. It was slung between two horses on a special rig. It was a tremendous job to get it over the trail, round some of the sharp curves and up the steep hills—but it arrived and has been duly installed.
Hikers Elect Their Officers
Comox & District Mountaineering Club Held Meeting on Thursday
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 6, 1932, p.7.
A faithful few of the Comox & District Mountaineering Club turned out for the annual meeting at the City Hall on Thursday night [September 30]. Mr. Sid Williams was elected president, Mr. Ben Hughes, vice-president, and Miss Peggy Watt, secretary-treasurer, with an executive of Miss Anderson, Miss C. Carwithen, Dr. Frank Moore and Messrs. Geoffrey B. Capes, Roy Harrison, John Bowbrick and W. Adrian B. Paul. The Comox Logging Co. and the Public Works Department will be asked to clear the trail to Mount Becher hut over which it is now difficult to get owing to fallen logs. There was a good deal of discussion about the Mount Becher hut, which has suffered a good deal at the hands of some of those who have used it. It was felt that nothing could be done but to appeal to them to preserve what was for their use. Some members of the club have done some very useful work at the cabin and on the trail. Mr. Sid Williams and some friends have completely re-roofed Tommy Anderson’s cabin, which will be a very useful resting place on the way to Mount Becher when the snow is deep in the winter and the going is hard. At the Mount Becher cabin there are now three stoves, one in each section, and the bunks have all been re-netted. Other committees will be appointed by the executive. In addition to the officers appointed, Messrs. William Douglas and Clinton S. Wood were appointed honorary presidents as a mark of appreciation of what they have done for the club. The financial statement shows that sixty dollars is still owed on the cabin, this being the debt still remaining on its original cost. It was decided to hold hikes to places of interest in the district during the winter months, possibly every month.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 27, 1932, p.2.
Hikers and hunters on Mount Becher Trail, on Sunday, found that the snow they could see from Courtenay was first found at Andersons cabin, not in any quantity, but in patches: and from there to the cabin, spots here and there, but nothing to make the going heavy. What two hikers did find, however, was that the trail had almost been obliterated where logging had occurred. In fact, two hunters had not put them on their way twice, they might never have got through. Now that the season for hiking is opening some easy way of direction must be found if the cabin is to be popular this year. At the cabin the girls found the floor dirty and pots and pans left anywhere, rusty and full of water. They cleaned up before they came away, and if other people who have no respect for themselves or for other people’s property don’t get there first, it will be in good condition for the next party of hikers.
Alpine Club Has Last Expedition Of Year To Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday November 15, 1932, p.3.
Thirteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada joined the last official outing of the year to the Lake of the Seven Hills camp, held during the week-end [November 11/12/13]. Weather notwithstanding, eight members, under Thomas Goodlake’s leadership, sallied forth from the camp on Saturday and made the ascent of Mount Empress, reporting a most enjoyable trip when they returned to the hut on Saturday evening. The lake is reported to be higher than ever before, due to the rains. Claude L. Harrison, outing convener, went up to the camp on Thursday afternoon and had things in readiness for the remainder of the party which came on Friday morning. Circumstances turned the expedition into an indoor work party, devoted to putting some finishing touches on the hut, including the placing of four of the six windows, and the erection in the main hall. The remainder of the windows will be put in during the next few days.
To Lecture Tonight About Wild Animals
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday November 24, 1932, p.10.
Under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, Brigadier-General Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe will give a lantern-lecture tonight at the Shrine Hall on “Wild Animals.” All the slides to be shown by Sir Charles will be of animals he has actually seen in the jungle or plains of India and Africa, or in the hinterlands of British Columbia, and he will have many thrilling stories to tell in connection with their appearance on the screen. Arthur O. Wheeler, president of the Alpine Club, will be in the chair and will introduce the speaker. The lecture will begin at 8:15 p.m.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday November 25, 1932, p.6.
The annual general meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will be held at the Y.W.C. A. on Tuesday December 6, at 8 o’clock.
Pictures Of Wild Beasts Interest Members Of The Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday November 25, 1932, p.12.
Brigadier-General Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe, K.C.M.G., C.B., C.V.O., gave his interesting address on “Wild Animals” last evening [November 24] for the first time before the Alpine Club of Canada, the address having been given on several previous occasions before various local organizations. Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, F.R.G.S., president of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, introduced Sir Charles, and referred to his visit to the Alpine Club camp at Glacier during the Summer, when he was a welcome guest of the club members. A series of splendid slides depicting wild life in Africa assed interest to the anecdotes and personal reminiscences of the speaker. Many of the photographs had been taken in the game reservations of East and West Africa, where an excellent opportunity for observing the habits of the animals had been obtained. Stories of the cruelty and fearfulness of the man-eating lions were told with graphic realism by Sir Charles, and among the finest pictures were those of giraffes, leopards and tigers and elephants. The appreciation of the audience was shown by enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of the address.
A.O. Wheeler is Chairman
Again Chosen to Direct Vancouver Island Section Of Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday December 8, 1932, p.3.
At the annual meeting of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada Tuesday [December 6] evening, Arthur O. Wheeler was again the choice of the meeting for chairman of the organization. No other name was placed in nomination. For vice-chairman, William H. Dougan was re-elected by acclamation. For the position of secretary, Guy M. Shaw declined to act upon his name being submitted for re-election. Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr was named to the position, with Thomas Goodlake as assistant secretary. Gordon Cameron was re-elected treasurer. The executive officers elected were Claude L. Harrison, Miss Janet Bell and Robert D. McCaw.
New Year’s Camp
During the progress of the meeting the chairman, Mr. Wheeler, gave the information that while he had the official information on the subject, he had been informed by a member of the executive that the annual camp of the Alpine Club of Canada would next year be held “amid the alplands at the head of Eremite Valley, a branch of the famous Tonquin Valley of Jasper Park.” The reports covering the year which were presented, indicated that the interest in the club had been well maintained. Mr. Wheeler praised the camp established at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
C.L. Harrison reported for the committee in charge of the building of the camp, that the work of construction was practically completed. All that remained to be done was the putting in position of the fireplace. This would be completed by Spring. Mr. Wheeler advised the local section to cultivate the taking of photographs for submission in the competition of the Dominion-wide organization. At the conclusion of the business, Major Edward O. Wheeler, son of the chairman of the section, presented some views he had taken in South Africa descriptive of the life of that continent.
Chairman – Arthur Wheeler
Vice-chairman – William Dougan
Secretary – Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr
Assistant Secretary – Thomas Goodlake
Treasurer – Gordon Cameron
Outings Committee – Claude Harrison
Executive Committee – Janet Bell, Robert McCaw, Claude Harrison.
February 28 – Illustrated lecture by J.C. Campbell on “Wild Animal Life.”
March 4 – Club trip to Bluff Mtn. and a half-day trip to Mt. Shepherd.
March 25 – Club trip to Red Flag Mtn.
April 2 – Full-day trip to Signal Hill and half-day trip to Garibaldi Hill.
April 3 – Club’s 27th annual banquet held at the Empress Hotel.
April 14 to 17 – Club Easter week-end camp to the Lake of the Seven Hills.
April 19 – Half-day trip to Buck Hill.
April 30 – Club trip to Mt. Scafe.
May 13/14 – Club trip to Saltspring Island to climb Mt. Belcher and Erskine.
May 20/21 – Club overnight trip to Mt. Braden.
May 24 – Club trip to Mt. Tzouhalem.
June 2/3/4 – Club trip to Mts. Bluff and Trapp.
June 17/18 – Club trip to Lake Cowichan Mountain.
June 24 – Full-day trip to Mt. McGuire and half-day trip to Broom Hill. Dinner at Sooke Hotel.
July 1 to 31 – Club camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
September 2/3/4 – Club trip the Leach River and across divide.
September 9 – Half-day trip to Mt. Newton and beach fire.
September 23 – Half-day trip to Mt. Skirt.
September 24 – Full-day trip to Durrance and Langford via Mt. Skirt.
October 8 – Half-day trip to Mt. Finlayson.
October 22 – Full-day trip to Shawnigan Lake.
October 31 – Halloween trip to be arranged.
November 11/12 – Club trip to the Lake of the Seven Hills.
November 25 – Half-day trip to Bear Mtn. and dinner at Hamsterley.
December 25 – Club Christmas reunion at Sooke Harbour House.
Section members who attended the ACC annual summer camp at Paradise Valley: Lindley Crease, Claude Harrison (graduated to active membership), Frederick Longstaff, Irene Bastow Hudson, Arthur Wheeler, Edward Wheeler.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday February 23, 1933, p.6.
J.C. Campbell, publicity director of National Parks of Canada, will give an illustrated lecture on wild animal life next Tuesday [February 28] in the Chamber of Commerce auditorium at 8 o’clock under the joint auspices of the Publicity Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and the Vancouver Island branch of the Alpine Club of Canada. Seven or eight new moving pictures will be shown.
Alpine Club to Resume Outings
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday February 26, 1933, p.7.
The Alpine Club (Vancouver Island section) is resuming its outings on Saturday, March 4, with a whole-day expedition to Bluff Mountain, leaving the city at 9 a.m.; and a half-day expedition to Mt. Shepherd, leaving the city at 1 p.m. Both parties will start at Bastion Square at the times named, and will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Belvedere Hotel for dinner. Under the auspices of the club, J.C. Campbell will give an illustrated address on animals and birds at the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, at 8 o’clock.
Knee-Deep Snow Encountered by Alpine Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 5, 1933, p.11.
The availability of winter sports in Victoria for those who enjoy this form of recreation was demonstrated by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, yesterday, the party of eight that formed an all-day expedition to Bluff Mountain and Mount Trapp encountering knee-deep snow on the first summit of the latter. The weather was ideal, and twenty-eight members in all joined the outing. In addition to the eight who took the major climb, under Claude L. Harrison’s leadership, was a party of twenty, who joined the afternoon outing. This also was in two sections, one, conducted by Miss Kathleen Martin, ascending the small mountain southwest of Mount Shepherd, and the other, led by Stanley Holmes, forming an expedition up the Sooke River to the canyons. All the hikers gathered at the Belvedere Hotel, Sooke, for dinner. This revived the old-time Alpine Club spirit, with community singing between the courses, and impromptu speeches from the guests gathered around the U-shaped table. After dinner, the outings convener read the programme of outings for the planned season. Two reels of movies of the last Summer camp of the Alpine Club in the Rockies followed, with running comment, this concluded an enjoyable evening.
Many Outings Are Planned
Island Section of The Alpine Club to Hold Twenty-Two Expeditions During Year
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday March 24, 1933, p.5.
Already away to a good start with three successful outings chalked off the calendar, the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada now announces the complete schedule of expeditions for 1933, this includes thirteen before August (a month during which the club cancels all activities) and nine during the Autumn. In addition, three or four social “get-togethers” are announced, the most important being the annual dinner, scheduled to take place on Monday, April 3, at the Empress Hotel, an event which is usually honored by the presence of the distinguished founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, Arthur O. Wheeler, who is now also president of the Vancouver Island section. As many members are feeling the effects of the world-wide conditions financially, outings have been kept as modest a scale as possible, in order to make it possible for everyone to attend. The next climb is to be tomorrow, Saturday, March 25, to Red Flag Mountain, the party leaving Bastion Square at 1:35 p.m.
Other events during the season are to be as follows: April 2 (Sunday), full-day outing to Signal Hill, and half-day outing to Garibaldi Hill; Easter camp at Lake of the Seven Hills, April 14 to April 17, inclusive; April 29, half-day expedition to Buck Hill; April 30, full-day outing to Mount Scafe. May—Week-end outing, May 13 and 14, to Saltspring Island, camping overnight, Mounts Belcher and Erskine to be climbed; May 20 and 21, Mount Braden, camp one night; May 24, one-day outing to Mount Tzouhalem. June—June 2, 3 and 4, two-night camping outing, climbing Mounts Trapp and Bluff; June 17 and 18, one-night camp, Cowichan Lake Mountain; June 24, full-day expedition to Mount McGuire; half-day outing Broom Hill; dinner at Sooke Hotel. July—July 1 to 31, camp at Lake of the Seven Hills.
September—Labor Day week-end, two-night camp, September 2, 3 and 4, Leach River and across Divide; September 9, half-day trip to Mount Newton and beach fire afterwards for clam bake; September 23, half-day to Mount Skirt and back; September 24, full-day to Durrance and Langford, via Mount Skirt. October—October 8, half-day expedition to Mount Finlayson; October 22, full-day trip to Shawnigan Lake; October 31, Halloween (to be arranged); and Thanksgiving Day, camp at Lake of the Seven Hills. November—November 11 and 12, camp at Lake of the Seven Hills; November 25, half-day to Bear Mountain and dinner at Hamsterley.
Annual Club Banquet Enjoyable Gathering
Twenty-Seventh Annual Celebration Held at Empress Hotel Last Evening—President A.O. Wheeler Addresses Gathering
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 4, 1933, p.5.
Celebrating the twenty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the Alpine Club of Canada, the Vancouver Island section last night met in time-honored manner at a banquet at the Empress Hotel. Covers were laid for forty-two guests at the big T-shaped table set in the Princess Louise private dinning room, daffodils, wild plum and wild currants forming the decorative motif, and after dinner and the delightful programme of speeches and music, the guests repaired to the adjacent Princess Charlotte dinning-room to play military whist. The feature of the proceedings was, as usual, the address by the venerable president of the section, Arthur O. Wheeler, who is also honorary president and founder of the parent society. Mr. Wheeler recalled the history of the club’s activities since the first camp, held at the summit of Yoho pass in 1906, noting that he had been present at each of the annual camps since then, with the exception of two, and hoped to maintain his close association with the organization until the end of his life. The club has made a name for itself through many accomplishments, perhaps the finest of which was the conquest of Mount Logan, the highest Canadian mountain, by a joint party of Canadian and American members, under the leadership of Albert McCarthy, Fred Lambert, and Colonel William W. Foster, the last a former president of the Vancouver Island section. Mr. Wheeler also, on behalf of the section, expressed sympathy to the honorary secretary of the parent society, Stanley H. Mitchell, who has been ill for some time, paying tribute to his loyal interest in the club.
Among the more recent undertaking of the Alpine Club of Canada had been the appointment, at last year’s annual camp, of a standing committee to promote the study of glaciers and glacial action in Canada, of which Mr. Wheeler himself is chairman. Reference was made to the forthcoming attempts on Mount Everest. Needless to say, all Alpine Club sections would follow the results with deep interest. “Camp this coming Summer is rumoured for Eremite Valley, a part of the famous Tonquin Valley system,” added the president, in his concluding remarks. During the evening Mr. Wheeler exhibited several large pieces of crystalized salt gathered in Death Valley, California, during a recent visit there, and at the same time he gave a graphic description of the strange and interesting geologic formation of the country, particularly mentioning Telescope Peak, which rises sheer 11,350 feet from the valley at its feet, in this respect being the highest mountain in the world. Other details on the programme were the interesting five-minute talks by Major Edward O. Wheeler, now home on furlough from India; J.P. Forde, and Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson; the enjoyable vocal contributions of Mrs. R.D. McCaw, who snag “Happy Song” (Teresa del Riego) and “Bird Lullaby” (Sanderson); and the brief addresses by Claude L. Harrison and Gordon Cameron in proposing and replying to the toast of “The Alpine Club.” The secretary, Mrs. Healey-Kerr, announced that messages of greetings had been sent to the New York, Edmonton and Vancouver sections of the club in response to recent greeting received from these groups. The guest were as follows: Mr. and Mrs. A.O. Wheeler, Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox, H.B. Jones, Mr. Hudson and Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson, Sholto Douglas, Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Hazelwood, William H. Dougan, J.P. Forde, Major and Mrs. Edward O. Wheeler (Quetta, India), Colonel and Mrs. Henry W. Laws, Colin Rutherford, Thomas Goodlake, Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. McCaw, Mr. Charles Whitney-Griffiths, Captain and Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming, Mr. and Mrs. George Deane, Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Cameron, Miss Betty Tuckey, Francis Tuckey, Miss Kathleen Martin, Miss Erminie Bass, Mrs. R.W. Healey-Kerr, Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Miss Janet Bell, Mrs. Sylvia Holland, Mrs. Charlotte J.B. Hadow, and Miss Audrey Hadow.
Re-Blaze Trail of Sooke Park Over Week-End
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 18, 1933, p.6.
The resurveying and reblazing of the Sooke Mountain Park boundary, previously blazed about thirty-five years ago, constituted the principal activity of the Easter Week-end camping party of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada that returned to the city last evening after four days in the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills district. Eight members joined the holiday expedition that went up on Friday morning to join the advanced party comprising Claude L. Harrison and Kenneth M. Chadwick, the outings convener and secretary, respectively. Despite the frequent flurries of snow throughout Saturday, the survey and reblazing work was proceeded with, and a considerable distance was covered. Easter Day was appropriately observed, and the menu was extended with hot-cross buns and Easter eggs. When members returned last evening, they were already planning for the next outing, which will be on Saturday, April 29, to Buck Hill, Sooke.
Alpine Club Visits Saltspring Island
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday May 16, 1933, p.8.
Saltspring Island was visited last week-end by the local section of the Alpine Club. As in previous years, members of the party, who reached the island by ferry, passed the night under the maples at Burgoyne Bay. This cove, bordered on either side by Mount Maxwell and Mount Bruce, is one of the beauty spots of the Gulf Islands. The phosphorescence on this evening was particularly bright. Sunday morning broke with a steady downpour of rain. At 8:30 o’clock the party motored to Cranberry to climb the 1400-foot ridge comprising Mount Belcher and Mount Erskine. The route was not difficult as the road climbs to 800 feet and the summit consists of a long succession of mossy slopes. Unfortunately, the view was to a great extent obscured by clouds, although Sansum Narrows and part of Maple Bay could be discerned. The party returned to Burgoyne Bay soon after 2 p.m. and returned to Victoria by the afternoon ferry, after an enjoyable trip.
Eulogy By One Who Knows It Well
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 13, 1933, p.5.
By C.L. Harrison
(Mr. Claude L. Harrison has written a short article on the Forbidden Plateau for the Comox Argus. Mr. Harrison has done more to bring the beauties of the Plateau to the notice of the outside world than anyone else with the exception of Mr. Clinton S. Wood — The Editor of the Comox Argus.)
Do you want to get away this year—get away from civilization jus a bit? Get into a high altitude, where the air is light and invigorating, where you will find miles of heather, purple, white and quaint little trees, beautiful lakes, creatures of the wild that are not afraid of you, and yet not the unpleasant familiar kind, taught by man to insist on begging food from your larder. A place where there are no pests—for the mosquito’s amount to nothing—and there’s not even a garter snake. And, oh yes!, close by, mighty mountains, canyons and all that. Something new for you and get-at-able. And now how about it, you ask. Give me the side information—all detail—put it shortly—put it clearly—put it in a few words—let me know. Very well, here you are.
The Long Trail
The Island Highway will take you by car to Courtenay and from there you will see sign posts “To the Forbidden Plateau”. Follow on and in a few minutes you will leave just a few miles behind and find yourself at a convenient turn-around-and-parking place with a little stream of ever-running water, too. Here the trail faces you. You will have decided before this, however, whether you are going to have your own camp, or if you will be going in without and stay at the charming little log hotel of the genial; Eugene Croteau. If you should have already decided to make your own camp, you would have brought your equipment, but would have beforehand written or phoned “long distance” to Mr. Clinton S. Wood of Courtenay. Just ‘phone long distance’ and ask her, and she will get him without delay for you. From Mr. Wood you would have found out when the pack horses go in to the Plateau. It is very frequent and the rates are reasonable. You may also, if you wish, arrange for one or more saddle horses, but that’s a matter of choice.
Get Jack Mitchell
If you are having your own camp, take my advice, try to get Jack Mitchell to run it all for you. There is only one Jack Mitchell. He can arrange everything—see that your baggage gets in—have your camp all set up at a choice spot—arrange your food supplies, and say! make the best pancakes that you ever ate. The address “Courtenay, B.C.” will get him. Try to get him, he is simply great. But if you have decided not to have your own camp and the bother of it, just get from your car at the trail, put on your nailed boots and your ruck-sack (keep it light, or send in by pack-train), and start off for Croteau’s Camp. It’s quite a journey, that’s what saves it from ruination, so take your time. The trail is easy to follow, you can’t miss it; there are no branch trails, but the miles will wind out—that is the only part that may try you a bit. Leave early in the morning, and you will be there that day. And you will be well repaid when you suddenly burst upon Croteau’s Camp on the edge of the Plateau.
At Croteau’s Camp
It is Comfort throughout and the food is excellent. Here tent houses with real spring beds exist, and you have to buy the hotel either—it’s reasonable, very reasonable—and everything is exactly the way you want it. Mr. Croteau is a refined French gentleman and you at once find an air of refinement and culture that will be remembered. He will tell you all you want to know and will send a guide with you, if you like, to any part of the Plateau or in the mountains. Before you lies the Plateau—now—that charming spot in Vancouver island with but little sign of Man except ‘blazed’ trails. Here you may roam in a new land at an average elevation of 4000 feet, with miles of unexplored mountains beyond. There is lots more to tell you—the red snow—the ptarmigan—the strata on Strata Mountain—the good trout fishing—but I’ll leave that to you now. It is a surprise for you now. It is a surprise for you—it is something you will enjoy, try it.
Noted Climbers’ May Visit City
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday August 16, 1933, p.4.
Two distinguished climbers, both of whom have been in Victoria on more than one occasion before, expect to visit here some time during September. They are Dr. and Mrs. Ivor A. Richards, who have been climbing with the Alpine Club of Canada in Paradise Valley and have been spending the last two weeks climbing without a guide in the Yoho Valley. Dr. Richards who is at Magdalene College, Cambridge, published his “Mencius on the Mind,” last year, which explains his presence as a British delegate at the Pacific Relations Institute conference at Banff at the present time. Mrs. Richards is better known under her maiden name of Dorothy Pilley, under which she writes in the English papers, and by which she is best remembered in Victoria, where she spent some time during a two years’ residence in Canada.
Victorians Win Record to Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 20, 1933, p.3.
During the past week, E.W. Izard of Yarrow’s Ltd., and his two boys Theodore and Arthur, all of Victoria, created something in the nature of a record in a trip they made to the Forbidden Plateau. They left Victoria at 8 a.m. on Wednesday [August 12] morning, by motor car, arriving at the end of the road into the plateau’s foothill at 3 p.m. When they sat down to supper in the Croteau Chalet at 8:30 o’clock that night, they were just twelve and a half hours from Victoria. The next morning, they climbed Mount Albert Edward, returning the same day to camp after what they declared to be a most enjoyable day, and the following afternoon started out.
Weather in the plateau at the present is reported as ideal, and among the August registrants at the Croteau Chalet were the following Victorians: Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Layard (Deep Cove), Robert J. Higgins, E.M. Yarwood, Miss Margaret Rennie, Miss Clare Ashdown Green, Miss Mary P. Leith, Mrs. Agnes Pryce Pollock, Dr. W.W. Bryce, Miss Maude, S. Christie, Mrs. Olga Stavrakov, Cecil Clague, J.E. Pugh, R. Lendrum, W.P. Lawson, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Frank, Miss Jean Gillespie, Miss Maisie Swan, Alex Gillespie, T.N. Woolison, R. Mathews, Ian Ross, Mrs. W. Wingfields, Miss M. Dunsmuir, Miss J. Humphrey, J. Humphrey, Mrs. Milton White, Fred G.P. Maurice, W.I. Morgan Jr., Charles Barker, Mrs. W.C. Warren, Mrs. Mildred Margison, Miss Dorothy Warren, W.H. Warren, Mr. and Mrs. E. Posgate, E.W. Izard, Theodore W. Izard, Arthur Izard, Miss Audrey S. Hooper, N.F. Pullen, and Prince and Princess Chirinsky Chihmatoff.
Other Island Visitors
Other Island visitors have included J. Murray (Sandwick), Miss D. Christian (Hillbank), S.A. Ashell (Sandwick), F.R. Hall (Hillbank), Miss Ella Gait and Ernest Gait (Royal Oak), Ethne Gale (Saanichton), Miss Katherine Milne (Metchosin), R. Mathews (Metchosin), Billy Parfitt, Jack Hardy, Frank Giolma and Jack Giolma (Sandwick), Mrs. M.M. White, M. Galloway, A.F. Galloway, and Miss Hume Galloway (Duncan) and Miss Elizabeth Rigby (Duncan).
Alpine Club Camp Attracts Members to Charming Spot
Lovely Lake-Of-The-Seven-Hills, Sooke, Now Scene of Annual Summer Rally—Day’s Programme Includes Hikes, Swimming, Boating And Evening Bonfire Parties.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 20, 1933, p.5.
By J. Ethel M. Bruce
It was the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, Sooke, that first discovered me the essential difference between a lake and the sea, to wit, that the former is essentially feminine, the latter masculine. Of course, lakes have just the same wide diversity of temperament as women. There are little coquettish, dimpling lakes; artificial, self-conscious lakes that exploit their charms; gloomy, puritanical lakes of repellant expression; shallow, insipid lakes that get disturbed easily; deep, quiet lakes that rest one; lakes that seem to hide secrets; others that are boisterous; lakes that are domestic or maternal, and various types of greater lakes that, like tremendously efficient women, understand the meaning of commerce and play their part well in the world of business. But all have some essential quality that stamps them as feminine rather than masculine. The Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills is pagan. She has a primeval quality. She is entirely unconscious of her beauty. Set high among the hills few knew even of her existence until three or four years ago the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada purchased about 200 acres of Sooke Hills parkland embracing the lake. Everyone who has visited the place has fallen in love with it, and the annual club camp, which is now under way, is attracting the usual number of nature lovers.
At this season the lake is particularly attractive, decked out with water lilies, fringed with reeds, framed in coppery-stemmed arbutus, feathery scented spiraea, birch and spruce and fir, and overhung by the seven rocky summits that have given her her name. She is beautiful, but she can be utilitarian also. The site of the camp was determined by the lake, for it has to furnish the water supply, and also affords delightful bathing. Regulations were framed at an early date, and posted where everyone could read them, that swimming would be allowed only on the side of the lake opposite camp, this preserving a pure drinking water supply right at the door. Even the deer seem to respect this rule, and have never been seen drinking anywhere on the camp side of the water.
The building of the stone fireplace, now just receiving the finishing touches, completes the big hut which is the focal point of all club activities. It is a fine structure, as the accompanying picture shows. Built of upright cedar logs the main portion of the building consists of a dining or assembly hall measuring twenty by thirty feet, with an eight-foot-wide veranda along the entire front, and an upstairs loft which is used the year round as a storeroom for bedding and other supplies left at camp, and also serves as sleeping quarters for any who visit the camp during the cold-weather. Opening off the dining-room is a lean-to kitchen, twelve feet square, fitted with a big French range which does the cooking for forty or fifty people when required. Off that is the pantry. The establishment also boasts a roofed-over outdoor dining-room, fifteen by twenty-two feet, capable of seating forty persons, and an outdoor kitchen, also roofed over. These are used in the warmer weather, or by members who visit camp in smaller groups during the year. One of the principal joys of camping is sleeping out of door. While the hut is the rendezvous of members at meal times and at other times when the weather is inclement, people prefer to spend their time outside, either lounging abut under the trees, boating or climbing some of the many neighboring hills. Guests also sleep outside. Tents are pitched to the right and left of the hut, the ladies’ quarters on one side, the men on the other. Some prefer to sleep right under the stars. Nearly everyone arrives at camp in heavy nailed alpine boots. These would soon play havoc with the floors of the dining-room and veranda, so there is a rule boots may not be worn inside. Consequently, and array of running shoes always flanks the steps. As the Vancouver Island section is, in the main, a training ground for those who wish to attend the Alpine Club’s annual camps in the Rockies, something of the same routine is observed in the local camp. The day’s climbs are posted, and member wishing to join any special climb are asked to sign their names thereunder.
Meals are served at fixed hours, breakfast at 7:30, luncheon at 12:30, tea at4 and dinner at 6:30. This year the camp has an exceptionally fine chef, an old sailor, and the blowing of the horn is the signal for a rapid gathering of hungry folk. The camp is four and a half miles from the end of the road, over a steep mountain trail that even the pack horses find some difficulty in some places. Yet here is a sample day’s menu during the present camp: Breakfast—Porridge, toast, bacon and eggs, flapjacks and syrup. Luncheon—Soup, lamb chops and two vegetables, boiled roly-poly pudding. Afternoon tea—Toast and tea. Dinner—Oxtail soup, roast beef and vegetables, macaroni and cheese, and coffee.
There are many more climbs in the neighborhood to keep the members active and busy during the Summer camps. One of the major climbs is to the top of Mount Empress, from which, if the weather is clear, there is a wonderful of Victoria. Every annual camp includes several expeditions to Mount Empress, which means that a group of five or six leave the main camp late in the day, carrying blankets or sleeping bag and some food, making the ascent by night and sleeping near the summit after and hour or two beside a big bonfire which can be easily seen from Victoria by those who are on the lookout. The descent is made in the early morning, in time to bring the climbers back for breakfast in the main camp. Swimming parties in the lake are very popular. There is a slim green canoe, which, like twelve big windows in the hut, found way up to the lake miraculously on the back of pack horses. The canoe is constantly in use for boating and swimming parties, and has given the finishing touch to some moonlight romances.
The lake has several little islands. The most popular, from the camp life point of view, is Bonfire Island. Connected from the mainland by a rustic bridge, it is the scene of nightly bonfires where everyone gathers for story-telling, sing-song, and general merrymaking. The leaping sparks and crackling fire-light have magic power in loosening tongues and nimbling the wit, and some merry tales and jests enliven these evenings. Other points, the names of which are almost self-explanatory, are Batchelor Island, Sirens’ Island and Peeping Rock.
Flora And Fauna
The camp has visitors other than members. First of the birds to discover the arrival of members are the whiskey-jacks, impudent and amusing visitors as they dart in and out among the trees snatching scraps from the table, the cookstove, the refuse dump. There are also woodpeckers and plenty of wild water fowl. During the night one is sometimes startled by the padding of feet and an inquisitive sniffing outside one’s tent. It is probably a racoon, although it maybe a deer, for deer steal into camp. Two or three squirrels are always to be seen leaping from branch to branch or sitting perched on a tree top tearing a pine cone asunder much as an epicure does an artichoke. At night-time the hooting of an owl can be heard above the merriment of the campfire. At night-time, too, the busy muskrat does his work, and if one has patience, and a flashlight, one can observe them building their lodges. One evening after dinner we slipped across the lake in the canoe. The last glow of sunset was in the sky, and the waning light brought a new magic to the woods and shadows. Suddenly the paddle stopped, and the boatman in a subdued voice called attention to a stag drinking at the water’s edge. The boat drifted silently to within fifteen or twenty feet before the antlered head was raised. For a full half minute, the beautiful velvety eyes stared in our direction. Then the nuzzle dipped once more to the water, and for conscious seconds the stag continued to drink. He had evidently not seen us. When his thirst was slaked, he quietly turned and sauntered off majestically into the forest. It was a beautiful sight, one of those memorable moments that give the perfect artistic touch. For the lake is pagan, and with a wild thing like a stag mirrored at the twilight in her waters, one can imagine quite easily that Pan sits piping on the hilltops.
At Alpine Club Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 20, 1933, p.8.
Among the members and visitors who have registered at the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada camp at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, Sooke, during the annual Summer camp that closes tomorrow are Mr. Claude L. Harrison (outings convener) and Mrs. Harrison, Mr. William H. Dougan, Miss Edith Willcox, Mr. and Mrs. Guy M. Shaw, Mr. Richard Shaw, Mr. H.B. Jones, Miss Kathleen Martin, Miss Janet Bell, Mrs. Sylvia Holland, Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming, Miss Verity Mackenzie, Mr. Charles Whitney-Griffiths, Mr. Basil Shaw, Mr. Thomas Goodlake, Captain O. Cox, Mr. C.H. Rutherford, Miss Daniels (London, England), Mr. Francis Tuckey, Miss Betty Tuckey, Miss Marjorie G. Hadley, Miss Ritchie, Mr. D. Ritchie, Miss Stephanie Jones, Miss Hillary Purdy, Miss J. Ethel M. Bruce and Mr. M. Ready.
Entertain Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 27, 1933, p.8.
At the charming home in the Uplands, Mr. and Mrs. C. [Claude] L. Harrison, on Friday afternoon, entertained a delightful garden tea for members of the Vancouver Islands section of the Alpine Club of Canada, who returned a week ago from the annual Summer camp at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, Sooke. A number of interesting photographic souvenirs of the camp were passed around while tea was being served by Mrs. Harrison, assisted by Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming, Miss Janet Bell and Miss Verity Mackenzie. The invited guests included Mr. and Mrs. C.H. Rutherford, Mrs. O. Bass and Miss Erminie Bass, Mr. H.B. Jones, Mrs. Martin and Misses Kathleen and Vivian Martin, Captain O. Cox, Mrs. Ketley (Vancouver), Miss Janet Bell, Miss Stephanie Jones, Miss Ethel Bruce, Mr. Thomas Goodlake, Miss Mary Mackenzie Grieve, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Shaw, Mr. Richard Shaw, Miss Marjorie Hadley, Miss Eleanor Everall, Miss Verity Mackenzie, Miss Betty Tuckey, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Dougan, Mr. Francis Tuckey, Miss Edith Willcox, Mr. Charles Whitney-Griffiths, and Miss Daniels (London, England).
Climb Mount Newton
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday September 14, 1933, p.6.
The annual climb of Mt. Newton, followed by a beach picnic and clam bake, was enjoyed, recently by fourteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The party made the ascent of the hill from the East Saanich Road, at the summit finding a good clear view eastward, but bad visibility south and west. Telegraph Bay Beach was the picnic rendezvous, and with an enormous bonfire, the evening passed pleasantly.
Mountaineering Thrill Described by Alpinist
Many Attributes Go Towards Making of a Good Woman Mountaineer—Much to Learn About Art of Being a Competent Climber
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday September 17, 1933, p.10.
BY DOROTHY PILLEY, PINNACLE CLUB (Miss Pilley is, in private life, Mrs. I.A. Richards, and has made climbs all over the world and many first ascents)
Mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies is becoming very much more a woman’s sport than it was. Old-timers in Canadian mountaineering give interesting accounts of the early days of women’s climbing, which after all were not so very long ago. In 1909 a woman climber was a rare and curious creature. A former president of the English Ladies’ Alpine Club recently told me how crowds used to rush up at lake Louise to gaze at the super woman who had braved the icy heights of Victoria or Lefroy. Women can now lead up Victoria without any sense they are doing anything especially audacious. After all, Victoria is a thoroughly manageable and charming mountain with a pleasant stretch of easy rock climbing and a fine aerial snow ridge, which in good condition, is a fascinating walk. At every few yards along the undulating crest, the scene changes, new vistas of the rich gulfs to right and left are unfolded, new crests ahead rise into salience, and when at last one comes to the summit one has the sense of a reward far beyond the measure of the toil that has gone to win it.
Tourists at Chateau Lake Louise, looking up at Victoria’s gleaming northeast slopes, have been known to ask whether the bergshrund running right across them is a horse trail! Victoria is not quite so easy as this conception suggests. But it is not, by Alpine standards, a peak which any strong woman under proper guidance need hesitate to tackle. One starts among the yellow poppies of Lake Louise and goes easily through the forest by a zig-zag path to the perfectly-situated Plain of the Six Glaciers, where Edward Fuez’s Chalet will give any European mountaineer a delicious shock of Alpine heimweh [homesick]. Glaciers from Mitre and Abbott Passes sweep down to meet under Lefroy’s terrific rock walls and you sit down to lunch and then loaf away the afternoon in the shade of the pines in a leisured ease, which is rare in the Alpine mountaineer’s experience. You have, in fact, time to spare, and time to spare is an unusual thing in great mountains. The explanation is simple. On the way up to Abbott’s Pass, where the hut stands in which you spend the night, there is a passage which is best crossed just after sunset. Here the ice walls of the glacier, which crowns a flanking cliff, have a way of crumbling off and thundering down in nerve-shattering cascades of flying ice. The shock of their fall pulverises them. From a distance you would take this white cloud of ice-dust for the spray of a waterfall were it not for the roar of the impact. After sunset, with the last light steeping Lefroy high above you on your left, you can walk up the final snow slopes, crossing one or, two interesting crevices in tranquility of mind, for at that hour the impending ice wall is frozen into stillness.
The hut is extremely comfortable and even has arm-chairs. A woman’s dormitory boasts the luxury of woolen sheets besides a store of fleecy, scarlet blankets; and springy beds invite to a night of cozy slumber. No one expects all the comforts of a bungalow camp at10,000 feet but measured by Alpine standards, this is a very first-rate hut indeed, and one of which Canadian mountaineers may well be proud. After breakfast, interest begins at once. Height is gained very rapidly and advantages from a woman’s point of view of starting the day at a great elevation are quickly felt. You are fresh, ready to enjoy every step, and the toil of the early forest-path hours, is cut out. So when you reach the summit and perch on the snow-cone for lunch and to gaze down at Lake Louise, there is none of the fatigue which sometimes dulls the sharpest edge of vision. Women have gained the freedom of the mountains during the last twenty years. There is no need for them to feel that they are mountaineers by masculine sufferance. The skirt which used to be carried in the rucksack and only taken off at the rocks, can now be left in the hotel. The severe navy blue or black and the neat white blouse with high collar and tie, have given place to styles as varied as the temperaments who wear them. Practical considerations, however, for the woman who is having a serious mountain holiday recommend strong, close-woven, wind-proof fabrics. These will not show the marks which are bound to come from wrestling with the rocks. Musical comedy mountaineering costumes are sometimes seen, but the sun rays reverberating from the glacier discourage bare arms and necks and Tyrolean shorts. So do the cutting edges of the rocks. Handsome high boots, worn for riding, though useful on the trail and still more useful when “bush whacking,” cramp the leg and have to give place to graceless hobnailed climbing boots. The aim is to get the maximum of protection from wind and heat alike, and the minimum of incumbrances.
A Great Adventure
To many women who climb only with guides miss the best of the whole adventure and the opportunity to lead their party on interesting ground within their powers. In England this has been felt so strongly that a woman’s mountaineering club, open only to those who can lead “moderately difficult” climbs in safety and good style, has been formed. No one who has tried leading can realize the added pleasure which the responsibility of being first on the rope gives to an ascent. It is also the only way to realize what an arduous duty devolves on the guide and how magnificently, yet unobtrusively, he performs it. Of course, I do not mean that the best woman climber can equal a good guide and above all in securing safety of the whole party. In fact, it is doubtful whether any woman should lead any but a fully competent party—she has not the reserves of strength to safeguard the clumsy novice on a big, “loose” mountain. What I do advocate is that she should be given a chance to find out what her capacity is in this position. Only so can she gain a true appreciation of the finer points of mountain technique.
Much to Learn
The Alpine Club of Canada gives the girl novice a grand chance of coming into camp and finding her mountain legs, especially if she does not rush off to climb the loftiest and hardest peak on the list. Her aim should be to learn all that makes a safe and trustworthy mountaineer. How to handle a rope, use “a belay,” how not to upset loose debris, how to come down as lightly and freely as she goes up—even how to cut steps in an ice slope and judge the condition of the snow ridge. There is little real credit to be gained from having been somehow up a big mountain on a rope. That has been done by too many, who would not have survived for a thousand feet if they had been unaided. But there is a real permanent gain in each development towards the capacity to travel over hard ground not as a liability to the party but as a source of additional strength to it. This seems to me the aim of responsible mountaineering, an aim which gives it its standing among the great sports of the world and one which every woman climber can reasonably aspire.
Mount Finlayson Object of Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday September 27, 1933, p.4.
Mount Finlayson and Skirt Mountain in the southwestern part of the Highland district were visited on Sunday [September 24] by a group of members of the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Island section. Leaving Bastion Square at 9:15 a.m., the expedition started to climb from a point on Millstream Road about two miles from Langford, reaching the summit of Mount Finlayson in time for luncheon. The summit, 1,200 feet altitude, commands an excellent view of the surrounding country, with the Goldstream Flats and Finlayson Arm on the west, and the E. & N. Railway track visible for miles. The return to Victoria was made about 5 o’clock. The next outing will be the two-night Thanksgiving Camp at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills.
Battle Of Winds on Forbidden Plateau
Graphic Story of Spectacle by Mr. Eugene Croteau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 12, 1933. p.4.
Mr. Eugene Croteau has descended from the Forbidden Plateau to his home in Comox. The heavy rains of September made the trail to his encampment so swampy that he was practically marooned. Now he has made all snug for the winter and left the Forbidden Plateau to its winter silence. He was probably the only witness of the great equinoctial storms in the high hills and he tells of the battle of the winds very graphically in an article he has written to the Argus. The south-easter came roaring up the Cruikshank Canyon to meet the north and west winds at Croteau Lake, and there was a battle of the elements over Mount Elma, very awe-inspiring. Now let Mr. Croteau tell the tale.
Quebec On the Plateau
“For anyone who has not seen a real snowstorm like they have in Quebec Province or on the Canadian Prairies, it would have opened their eyes if they had been on the Plateau on Sept. 21st, at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, when the storm began. It had been raining for two weeks and at times in torrents. The night before the snowstorm, the rain came down faster than ever, when suddenly the rain turned to snow. What made the storm real was the wind. With a great furore it would come from the south and then it would come from the south-east and hit Mt. Elma square in the fact; then a terrible blow was delivered from the north and another blow from the north-west—so that Mt. Elma was being hit on all sides. By 10 o’clock Pacific Standard Time the ground was covered with four inches of wet snow. Then something happened. I heard a crash—one of my bell tents had gone down. The snow had put such pressure on the tent that the cap supporting the post in the centre blew off—nothing could be done and while I was contemplating the extend of the damage—Band! I heard another crash. It was another of my big tents blown down by the force of the snow and wind. Poor tent! Only a short time ago, four beautiful girls from Nanaimo had made their home there for a week, and now it was lying flat; it had lost the battle! I don’t remember having any lunch that day and when 6 o’clock came I was very hungry and tired from shovelling snow off the tents. What saved my other tents was the flies over them. At 6 o’clock there was 8 inches of snow and the next morning, 10 inches. So more shovelling was necessary.
It snowed all day Friday and Saturday but the wind had gone down. Saturday morning the thermometer registered 22º above zero—it was fairly cold, and getting real Quebec. The sun rose Sunday morning, Sept. 24th. bright and warm; the sky very clear. What a beautiful day! But there was a good foot of snow on the ground, and this was the first time in four years, during which time I have been running a camp on the Plateau, that I have seen snow in September. I hope God forgives me, but Sunday I did work very hard storing all my camp equipment in the cabin, and to my great regret, was forced to disconnect my radio to make sufficient room. I have missed it very much, particularly in the evening when the Sun news and the Province News come on the air. A battery set on the Plateau works very well, the reception is very clear, no static. Monday was also a beautiful day, warm at noon. Thermometer was 50 in the shade, inclined to be cloudy towards the evening. I have all my beds and bedding, and all the flies in the cabin. Was able to dry some tents on the roof of the cabin in the hot sun.
Tuesday Morning: It is raining, foggy and misty—not cold. At 7 a.m. it was 35°. It is a bad day. The sow is down to six inches.
Wednesday, Sept. 27th.: Not very bright—foggy, misty, raining at times and blowing.
A Horrible Night
Thursday, Sept. 28th.: What a horrible night of wind and rain! Not a tent would have stood up. It was a real genuine hurricane coming mostly from the south-east, and this morning the storm has increased in intensity—it is wonderful! The snow is very nearly all gone and that is a blessing. At 11 o’clock Pacific Standard Time an opening has been made by a piece of strategy like old Joffre in the Battle of the Marne, a combination of north and west winds has driven a wedge in the south-east and has let the sun come out. But the gap in the south did not stay open very long, they seemed to want to rally, but again the north wind came up and gave it a terrible blow, then the west, as a reserve came behind with a mighty blow and they wrestled and tumbled. The battle was for good—for the south seemed very determined and stubborn. It was now one o’clock p.m. Then something happened. A big punch from the north tore a hole right through, and again the sun came out, this time a little blue-ish in the face, but still fairly strong. It blew very hard until dark.
Friday, Sept. 29th.: Two inches of fresh snow this a.m. The sun came out and the new snow melted away. It was a fairly nice day, about 50º in the shade at noon. Glass went up to 26.90 inches.
Saturday, Sept. 30th.: A bit cloudy. Glass up to 26.85. No wind. White frost last night. It was been a very dull day. 38º at 6 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 1st.: Nice morning, the sun is out and warm. A few clouds from the west. Barometer up to 26.90. Finished drying the tents today at 5 p.m. Rain has started—it is warm—53º.
Monday, Oct. 2nd.: Fine morning—but getting cloudy. It was a beautiful night—moon very bright. I am getting ready to go if the pack train comes. Thermometer 60 in shade at 11 a.m. Barometer 26.75 (4100 feet elevation), 54° at 6 a.m.”
Old Hunter Is Lost
Harry Rees Has Been Missing for Ten Days on Mount Becher
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday December 14, 1933. p.1.
Anxiety has been occasioned to Cumberland by the continued absence of Mr. Harry Rees, who is believed to have left ten days or so ago in an attempt to go in to Mount Becher. Mr. Rees is over seventy-five years of age, but is still vigorous, and there is no one better acquainted with the mountains around Cumberland than he is, but it is feared that some accident may have befallen him. He was last seen on November 30th. On Sunday, Dec. 3rd., Mr. Jock Sutherland and a companion passed his cabin at Quartz Creek, Comox Lake, and left a note there. Returning some two days later, they found the note still there. A search party went out last Sunday [December 10], but owing to the heavy snow could not make headway. Constable Shand of the provincial Police organized another search party which left today, Thursday for the cabin belonging to the Comox Mountaineering club at Mount Becher. It consisted of Constable Shand, Game-warden Barty Harvey and three Cumberland men. They all took snowshoes. The first search party went out earlier but there was no crust on the snow, and the men went up to their waists in the loose snow, and could make no headway. Last night’s temperature put a light crust on the surface and they might make better progress today. There is excellent shelter and fuel in the Mount Becher cabin, and Rees is a good woodsman, but he has been gone a long while, and he is believed to have taken an adequate supply of food with him.
New Head for Alpine Club
C.L. Harrison Succeeds A.O. Wheeler As president Of Local Section
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday December 15, 1933, p.5.
Claude L. Harrison was elected president of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at the annual meeting of the society, held on Wednesday [December 13] evening at the Y.W.C.A. He succeeds Arthur O. Wheeler, venerable founder and now honorary president of the Alpine Club of Canada, who declined an invitation to run for the office another year. He and Mrs. Wheeler were created honorary members of the local section, several of the charter members voicing deep appreciation of the part they played in creating and stimulating interest in mountaineering and nature lore. Stanley H. Mitchell, secretary of the parent club from its inception to the time of his retirement two or three years ago, was also created an honorary member. Other officers elected as follows: Secretary, Kathleen Martin; treasurer, Gordon Cameron; executive, William H. Dougan, Robert D. McCaw, H.B. Jones, Miss Marjorie Hadley, Miss Janet Bell and Miss Whaley.
Next Annual Camp
Mr. Wheeler gave a survey of the year’s activities in his annual address, and announced that although three places were under consideration for the next annual camp of the Alpine Club of Canada, no definitive decision had yet been made on this matter. Other reports were made by the acting secretary, the treasurer, and the chairman of the various committees. As chairman of the hut and property committee, and the very energetic outings convener, Mr. Harrison reported completion of the hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills, and expressed the hope that members would make more frequent use thereof. The proceedings closed with an interesting movie reel by Captain C.M.C. Fleming of the voyage of the cableship C.S. Restorer [Fleming was the CPCC Master of C.S. Restorer from 1927 to 1941] to the Hawaiian Islands in 1931, and another reel at the 1933 camp of the Alpine Club at Paradise Valley was shown by Mr. Harrison. Some of these, in color, were particularly beautiful. Refreshments were served by a committee of ladies convened by Mrs. Fleming.
Alpine Club Assembling at Christmas
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday December 23, 1933, p.5.
The Alpine Club will hold its Christmas reunion at Sooke Harbor House, Whiffen Spit Beach, on Christmas Day. The member and their friends will assemble during the afternoon, dinner will be served at 7 o’clock, and will be followed by dancing and seasonal entertainment. Sooke Harbor House is being profusely decorated for the occasion, flooded with light and color.
Chairman – Claude Harrison
Secretary – Kathleen Martin
Treasurer – Gordon Cameron
Outings – Claude Harrison
Executive Committee – William Dougan, Robert McCaw, H.B. Jones, Marjorie Hadley, Janet Bell, Miss Whaley
March 26 – Club’s 28th annual banquet at the Empress Hotel.
March 31 to April 2 – Leech River Camp.
April 15 – Club trip to Mt. Braden and dinner at Seaways, Sooke.
April 28/29 – Club over-night trip to Maple Mountain.
May 13 – Club trip to Mt. Jocelyn.
May 26/27 – Club overnight trip to Mt. Braden.
June 2/3/4 – Club trip to Trap Mountain.
June 16/17 – Club trip to Saturna Island (didn’t happen).
June 30 to July 8 – Club summer camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
August 31 – Club trip to Mt. Survey and district.
August 31 to September 3 – Club trip using packhorses into Sooke Hills.
September 15/16 – Club trip to Saturna Island.
September 29 – Club trip to Mt. McDonald.
October 6/7/8 – Thanksgiving week-end camp to the Lake of the Seven Hills.
October 21 – Club trip to a mountain west from Sooke Road.
November 3 – Club trip to Lone Tree Hill.
November 10/11 – Armistice Day week-end camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
November 25 – Club trip to Mt. Maguire.
December 9 – Club trip to Mt. Shepherd and dinner at Seaways.
December 17 – Club annual meeting at the Y.M.C.A. to elect officers.
December 31 to January 2 – New Years camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
Section members who attended the ACC annual summer camp at Chrome Lake July 17 – 31: Arthur Wheeler, Muriel Aylard, Aileen Aylard, Dorothea Hay.
Alpine Club Hut Razed by Flames
Report Received Here Says Popular Gathering Place at Sooke Burned On New Year’s
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday January 4, 1934, p.1.
Advices have been received here that the Alpine Club hut, five miles beyond the head of the Sooke River Road, at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, was totally destroyed by fire, New Year’s night. The hut was the property of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. It was valued at $3,000, and covered by insurance. A party of ten members, led by President Claude L. Harrison, spent the holiday week-end in the hut, and left late Monday afternoon, after having damped the fire. Provincial Police were attracted to the scene of the blaze late that night. Mr. Harrison visited the scene Tuesday [January 2].
Youth Improving After Casualty
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday March 3, 1934, p.5.
Benjamin Gibson, aged seventeen years, of 1741 Davie Street, lies in Royal Jubilee Hospital, recuperating from severe abrasions of the face and head, received Sunday [March1] when he fell twenty feet down the side of Mount Finlayson. His condition is reported fair, and he is resting comfortably. At the time of the accident, Gibson was in the company of Stanley Metcalfe, of 702 Gorge Road, who also received slight injury, and Dennis Fairburn, of 906 Joan Crescent. Both Gibson and Metcalfe miraculously escaped from death, according to Fairburn. The trio had started out with a party of seven but later broke away. Continuing to climb, the boys soon found themselves in a precarious position on the face of a cliff. Gibson, being in the lead, was advised by his companions to retrace his steps, and that they would attempt to stop him in case of a fall. Gibson did fall, and struck Metcalfe in the stomach with his feet, and they both slide down the steep grade. Metcalfe managed to grab a limb of a tree, only managing to stop himself on the edge of a fifty-foot drop to the sea. The boys succeeded in descending the mountain, where D.J. Hayhurst volunteered to drive them to the city. The party was met at the Four-Mile Hill by the police ambulance, which escorted the car to the hospital.
Hikers Come to Life
Comox Mountaineering Club Will Be Live Organization This Season
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 8, 1934, p.1 & 6.
The Comox District Mountaineering Club which has shown very little vitality during the past two years, sprang into life on Friday night [March 2] at the annual meeting. It is true that there were not many there; but those who did attend were enthusiastic. The lookout wasn’t very bright from the report of the secretary, Miss Peggy Watt. There is still over sixty dollars to pay on the cabin and the indebtedness amounted in all to $69 with about fourteen dollars to do it with; and paid-up members were scarce and far between. There were many reasons beyond Old Man Depression that could be blamed. For two years the trail to the cabin has been blocked for more than a mile with the debris from logging operations. And last winter and spring the snow was so soft and so deep that going is very difficult. Through the efforts of the club the trail has been cut through and is now in good shape, and one of the compartments of the cabin is ready for visitors. Also, Stuart Wood reported that there is a fine crust on the snow now. On March 11th the club is inviting all and sundry to make the trip up to Mount Becher for the day. A start will be made from the Riverside Hotel at half past six in the morning. It is expected and hoped that there will be turnout reminiscent of the days when the cabin was packed every week-end.
Plenty Of Enthusiasm
The younger members of the club tackled the deficit with an ardor that would have done Mr. Hart good. They decided that to raise sixty dollars was nothing, and they planned a campaign to do it right on the spot. Youth took the floor when it came to the election of officers, the only surviving member of the old guard being Mr. Bill Douglas who certainly cannot be made to realize his age when he gets on the trail. Officers were:
President – Sid Williams.
Vice-president – Dick Idiens.
Secretary – Peggy Watts.
Executive – Roy Harrison, Bill Douglas, Stuart Wood and Mrs. Williams. They ask all hikers not to forget March 11th.
Hikers Had Gay Time
Twenty-Two Went Up to Mount Becher On Sunday
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 15, 1934. p.2.
At noon hour on Sunday, the Comox Mountaineering Club might have hung a sign “standing room only” at Mount Becher cabin. For after you get 22 hikers with their gear, snow-shoes, toboggans, skis and packs into that restricted space there isn’t a great deal of room left. After three years of desertion, it was like the gay old days when every week-end saw a party in the hut and another tobogganing on the slopes just above the cabin. Peggy Watt, Helen Towler, Henry Rankin, Jack Bowbrick et al went up on Saturday to break the trail. It took them seven hours. Breaking trail above Anderson’s cabin is a tedious business, but it was well worth it when the cabin was reached. The rest of the crowd led by Sid William went up on Sunday morning. It was brilliant weather out on top. No one who hasn’t seen sky as a background to the intense white of a snow ridge can imagine how blue it was. A south wind came up the draw in warm gusts from Comox Lake. Some carless intruder has taken one of the windows out of the hut and forgotten to put it back and everyone slithered through it into the hut. Another visitor with bad bush manners had taken away the snow shovel, and Sid Williams had to dig his was through eight feet of snow before he could get the door open, and he did it with a ski at that. The snow revels (as C.P.R. folders would say) on the slope above the cabin were as joyous as ever, the sun was so warm by midday it had taken the starch out of the snow crust and the ride down the slide wasn’t quite as thrilling as earlier in the morning. But it was fast enough both for the tobogganers and the skiers. Going up the hill took five hours, coming down two and a half. Sid Williams led the stampede from the Lookout to the Bad Lands at such a kangaroo gait that Stuart Wood was unfit for inspection, and had to borrow an Indian sweater as a kilt. The snow’s going fast under the sun but there should be many a week-end yet for good hiking.
Alpinists Planning Week-End
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 24, 1934, p.5.
The Easter week-end will be used by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada to hold a camp at Leechtown, and an expedition will, at the same time be made into the hills to the south of Leech River. The Spring and Summer programme of the club, just announced, contains several interesting outings elsewhere. The Leechtown district will receive another visit early in June, when a three-day outing to Trap Mountain is planned. Two water trips are on the list, one in May, up Finlayson Arm to Mount Jocelyn, and the other, in June, to Saturna Island. The Summer camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills will be held during the first week of July, by which time it is hoped the new hut, replacing that recently destroyed by fire, will be completed. A longer trip, the destination of which has not been settled, is planned for August.
The complete outings programme is as follows: Saturday, March 31, to Monday, April 2: Leech River camp. Sunday, April 15: Mountain southwest of Mount Braden, followed by dinner at “Seaways,” Sooke Harbor (all-day trip). Saturday-Sunday, April 28-29: Maple Mountain, camp at Maple Bay (leave city at 3 p.m.) Sunday, May 13: Mount Jocelyn (leave city at 10 a.m.) Saturday-Sunday, May 26-27: Mount Braden, camp (leave city at 3 p.m.) Saturday-Sunday, June 2-4: Trap Mountain, camp (leave city 3 p.m.) Saturday-Sunday, June 16-17: Saturna Island, camp, followed by dinner at Sidney; minimum, fifteen (leave city 2:30 p.m.) Saturday, June 30, to Sunday July 8: Summer camp, Lake of the Seven Hills.
Alpine Club Attains Twenty-Eighth Year With Fine Gathering
A.O. Wheeler, Founder of Parent Society, Present At Banquet of Vancouver Island Section at Empress Hotel—Sister Clubs Send Greetings
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday March 27, 1934, p.2.
One of the chain of local branches celebrating the same event on the same night, the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, last evening commemorated the twenty-eight anniversary of the founding of the parent society by holding its annual banquet at the Empress Hotel. With Arthur O. Wheeler, veteran founder and former president of the local section, in the chair, and a record attendance of members and friends, the affair passed off auspiciously. A stimulating fillip to the proceedings was the last-minute reference to the ambitious project which has been undertaken by the Norman Watson expedition, bent on the exploration of the Mount Waddington group of the Coast Range of British Columbia, and the crossing of the range from east to west on skis. Speculation ran high as to the probability or otherwise of the English expedition making the ascent of the “mystery mountain,” that for so many years has baffled such intrepid climbers as Mr. Don and Mrs. Phyllis Munday, of Vancouver.
Mr. Wheeler’s annual address was, as usual, one of the features of a programme that was interesting in every detail. “It is my very great pleasure to be able to congratulate the club upon the arrival of the twenty-eighth anniversary of its foundation at Winnipeg, in 1906, and to know that it is going strong and is living up to its reputation, not withstanding the hard time we have been up against,” he said in beginning the address which he annual sends to each of the sections of the Alpine Club throughout the Dominion at this time. The club was to be congratulated on having so successfully carried on during the depression. Good times seemed again in sight. In characteristically poetic vein, he sketched the lure of the mountains and hinted at the marvellous exploration in the Rockies. Next Summer’s camp, he announced, would be in the Eremite Valley, making accessible the magnificent Tonquin group. In this area there were still virgin peaks to be conquered.
Reference was also made by Mr. Wheeler to some of the eminent members of the parent club who had been taken during the year: Thomas Wilson, one of the charter members present at the foundation ceremony at Winnipeg, in 1906; Conrad Kain, the Austrian guide, who has been present at so many of the camps since 1909, and who led the first complete ascent and traverse of Mount Robson, and Dr. Douglas W. Freshfield, who passed away last month at the age of eighty-eight years. Gratification was expressed by Mr. Wheeler, as chairman of the committee on glacier observations, at the enthusiastic response to the call made for such work to be done during last Summer. The result would appear in the next issue of the Alpine Club Journal. Congratulations at the same time were extended to the editor, Mr. Alec McCoubrey, on the fine issue of the 1932 Journal. A highly-popular reference, subsequently endorsed by the framing of a message from the local section of greeting and sympathy, was made to the honorary secretary, Stanley H. Mitchell, who owing to poor health, is unable to fill his old position at the clubhouse, and at the camp, from which he is missed.
A Warm Tribute
“For twenty-eight years,” said Mr. Wheeler, “Mr. Mitchell has been a devoted promoter and servant of the best interests of the club, and to his high ideals and fine mountain instincts are due much of our success.” In conclusion the honorary president extended very hearty greetings to the Vancouver Island section which, under the able guidance of its president, Claude L. Harrison, was carrying out a splendid programme of activities. The live interest of the members was well attested to in the big attendance at the dinner and numerous outings which the club has under way. Regret was expressed that during the year the hut at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills had been destroyed by fire, but the plans were already under way, he understood, for reconstruction at an early date. Among the greetings read by the chairman was a letter from the honorary secretary of the parent club, S.H. Mitchell, who expressed regret that he was not well enough to be present. The Winnipeg and Calgary sections also sent messages.
Gordon Cameron, treasurer of the local section, proposed, and Claude Harrison, responded to the toast to the Alpine Club of Canada. Both were agreed that because of the Alpine Club, Canada and her mountains enjoyed renown among the nations, and that the mountains were a genuine asset not only to British Columbia and Canadians, but to all the rest of the world who could use them as a playground. Mr. Harrison particularly referred to the value and beauty of the forests, an effort to save which for posterity should be made. He expressed appreciation of the efficient way in which the parent club’s secretary, Major Tweedie, carried out his responsibilities both in the Summer camp and throughout the year, and in the same sentence, paid tribute to the ability of the Vancouver Island section’s secretary, Miss Kathleen Martin. It was a particularly happy occasion, too, when they were able to have with them the “father” of the club, Mr. Wheeler.
Dr. Irene Bastow Hudson brought to the attention of the gathering the lengthy reports that are appearing in The London Times of the Norman Watson expedition into the Mount Waddington [Round Mystery Mountain: A Ski Adventure by Norman Watson and Edward King, 1935] group of the British Columbia Coast Range, and expressed regret that no members of the Alpine Club of Canada were with the expedition. Mr. Wheeler noted that Mr. Don and Mrs. Phyllis Munday, of Vancouver, had already done some notable exploration in that area, and that a full account of this and the researches of Henry S. Hall and his party would appear in the next issue of the Alpine Club journal. Major Tweedie brough the greetings from the Vancouver section, and seized the occasion to appeal to young people to work up an interest in mountaineering and replace, if possible, the “unfortunate missing generation of which so heavy a toll was taken Overseas during the war.” Sir Charles Delme-Radcliffe and Lindley Crease, K.C., were the last speakers, the former crowding into seven minutes two interesting and exciting incidents in which he had played a part whilst climbing in the Himalayas, and the latter congratulating Mr. Harrison on what he had accomplished in stimulating interest in the Vancouver Island section of the activities of the club. Mrs. W.H. Lasenby contributed very appreciably to the evening’s enjoyment by her delightful singing of “Slave Song,” “Love is a Rose,” “My Dear Soul” and “Baby o’Mine.” The room presented a most attractive appearance, the charmingly appointed table, with its bowls of wild lilies (erythronium) and daffodils, and lighted by yellow tapers in silver candelabra, being the handiwork of Mrs. E.C. Posgate, Miss Catherine Wollaston, Miss Kathleen Martin and Mrs. C.M.C. Fleming.
Movies of Mountains to Be Seen
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 29, 1934, p.7.
A unique opportunity for mountain and nature lovers to visit, in imagination, one of the finest mountaineering and scenic areas of the Canadian Rockies will be provided on Saturday evening at 8 o’clock at the New Thought Hall; several reels of movies and a great many fine lantern slides of the Eremite Valley and Dublia Peak will be shown. Alpine Club members and their friends should find the entertainment particularly interesting. These pictures were taken last year by Dr. Max Sturmia, an intrepid mountaineer, during a visit to the district. His ascent of Dubia Peak, some interesting movie records of which are included in the pictures to be displayed on Saturday evening, was quite a feat. The entire series has a much-enhanced interest, owing to the fact that this year’s Summer camp of the Alpine Club of Canada is to be held in the Eremite Valley.
Eremite Valley lies in an airline distance of about twelve miles southwest of Jasper, and at about the same distance by trail from the nearest point on the Edith Cavell motor road. The valley floor forms a series of verdant terraces. Camp will be pitched at a point where Eremite creek rushes over a cliff in a fine cascade, on its way to join the Astoria River, one of the main tributaries of the Athabaska. On the east, the main site is bounded by the heavily forested slopes on Thunderbolt Peak. The western side of the valley is hemmed in by vertical cliffs, above which are the snowfields of the Eremite Glacier, which enters the head of the valley about twenty minutes’ walk from where the camp will be pitched. It is a region of lakes, streams and waterfalls—Chrome Lake, Amethyst Lake, Thunderbolt Lake and Outpost Lake being in the district. Among the more ambitious climbs that the area offers are such peaks as Needle, Dungeon, Redoubt and Oubliette. Outpost Peak, close to the memorial hut, will serve as an excellent training climb. The region is quite unspoiled, and there are still several unclimbed peaks.
Ideal Weather on Mount Becher
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 29, 1934, p.6.
Twelve hikers of the Comox District Mountaineering Club had an ideal day up on Mount Becher on Saturday and Sunday. Jimmy Thomas and Harry Kerton went up on Saturday afternoon with ten others who could not get away till late Saturday night. They say that the trail has now been so crusted with snow by the action of the sun and the night frosts that it is like travelling on a sidewalk and they made their night trip in three hours and a quarter. In the early morning the snow was crisp on the toboggan slide and they had some wonderful skiing and slides. On Good Friday, Dick Idiens is going up the hill with some Powell River cloth to line the bunks. There are twenty bunks in the two cabins but the visitors have been so filled with oxygen on the high hills that they have broken through all but two. Dick hopes that there will be a little more restraint in future. The cabin will be crowded at Easter if the weather is fine and crisp.
Camping In Open
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday April 1, 1934, p.6.
A party of four members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada left Victoria yesterday [March 31] for the Leechtown district, and will camp two nights in the open whilst exploring the valleys and hills of that area. Another party of thirteen or fourteen members will leave this morning for the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, in the Sooke area, and will camp tonight at the site of the Alpine hut that was destroyed by fire. Both parties intend to return to Victoria tomorrow afternoon.
Fine Films of Rockies Shown
Local Members of Canadian Alpine Club Sees Views Of Eremite Valley
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday April 1, 1934, p.11.
For the first time in Victoria, and immediately prior to shipment to New York for world-wide distribution, motion pictures and slides showing splendid scenes of the Canadian Rockies were displayed by Claude L. Harrison, last night, in New Thought Hall. The programme was under the auspices of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, and the scenes were mainly of Eremite Valley, where the annual camp will be held from July 17 to 31, this year. The valley is in Jasper National Park. In the 800 feet of moving pictures shown, the entire reels were devoted to shots of the first scale of Mount Oubliette, 11,000 feet in the Jasper area. Intricate mountain climbing equipment was displayed, and the modern scaling methods were graphically presented.
Starting from the base of the mountain and continuing the ascent until the summit was reached, some beautiful scenic pictures were taken by Dr. Max Sturmia. The second feature was the presentation of 100 lantern slides, giving details of the locality surrounding the spot where the 1934 Summer Alpine camp will be situated. The camp will be placed in the Eremite Valley, with tiny and large lakes, all well stocked with trout, nearby and high peaks, some scaled and others as yet unconquered, hemming it in. Various routes to the summits of surrounding mountains were shown in the slides, and, as in all the motion pictures, the scenery on all routes was gorgeous. A running commentary on the slides was given by Miss Kathleen Martin.
Camp At Leechtown
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday April 3, 1934, p.6.
Despite the inclement weather three members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club who went up to Leechtown district to explore some of the country thereabouts had a very enjoyable outing, but instead of camping in the open they found more satisfactory protection for the night in a friendly shack. The party which went up Sunday morning to the Lake of the Seven Hills was also handicapped by the weather, owing to the destruction of the clubhouse earlier this year. They braved the elements in good spirits, however, and returned to the city last evening after what they declared to be a very enjoyable outing, which included the exploration of some new country.
Hikers Off for Mount Becher
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 12, 1934, p.2.
On Sunday morning a club hike by members of the Comox Mountaineering Club will leave the Riverside Hotel at a quarter to six. They are going to have a good time and they are going to do more work on the cabin. Dick Idiens, Stuart Wood, Norman Tribe, Arthur Wood and David Guthrie with Miss Peggy Watt as the chef, went up last Sunday and accomplished a lot of work. They fixed the table and made seats behind it, they boarded the floor and put another window in. Owing to the unusually early spring this is probably the last chance there will be to take a tumble in the snow this year, so all who want to enjoy it should go along. The going is still good in the morning.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday May 17, 1934. p.2.
It is not until one gets into the higher altitudes that it is easy to grasp what a difference there is between this year and last. Last year, Mr. Eugene Croteau made his trial trip to discover what depth of snow there was on the Plateau on June 18th. He and his party went to Camp 6 at an altitude of 3,200 feet and found between three and four feet of snow there. This year on May 13th there was no snow at all at the same place. On July 7th, Mr. Croteau went in with his pack train. He found so much snow at Camp 6 that he had to stay there for seven days. On July 18th finally broke through to the Plateau but they found fifteen feet of snow in some places and had great difficulty in getting through. Now, tomorrow it would be quite easy to take a pack train through to the Plateau although the trail is a little soft. The season on the higher altitudes is at least two months ahead of last year.
Dick Idiens is trying his best to find a way through from Bevan without going over the top of Mount Becher. He tried to make it on Sunday from the last grade but said that it was so steep that nothing but a mountain goat could scale it. And when Dick says it’s tough going, it is tough going. But he still believes that there is a pass between the lower reaches of the Becher trail and Sling Shot meadows on the other side of Mt. Becher and he is going to find it.
There never were so many birds in the bush as this year, and the vegetation is astonishingly forward. Unless we have a very wet spell it will be quite feasible for anyone to take their June holidays on the Plateau this year. Mr. Croteau now proposes to open his cabin early next month.
Indomitable Climbers to Speak Here
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday May 18, 1934, p.8.
A great treat is in store for the members of the Women’s Canadian Club who hear Mrs. Phyllis Munday’s lecture, at the Empress Hotel, next Tuesday afternoon [May 12]. Using magnificent slides to illustrate her subject, Mrs. Munday, who with her husband was one of the first to explore the now famous Mount Waddington country, recently traversed by a party of British skiers, will speak on “Mystery Mountain by the Northern Route.” She has spoken here to delighted audiences previously on the same topic, notably the local section of the Alpine Club of Canada and the Girl Guides. Her lantern slides are remarkable in interest and beauty, depicting not only grandeur of the mountains with their towering peaks, glaciers, lakes and snows, but the loveliness of the Alplands and their flowers, and something of animal life as well.
Trapper’s Body Is Found
Courtenay Boys Make Discovery on Mount Becher Trail
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 7, 1934. p.1.
The body of Harry Rees, the Cumberland trapper, who was lost in a snow storm the week before Christmas, was found by three Courtenay boys as they were coming down from Mount Becher on Monday [June 4] morning. Douglas Thomas, Rex and Robert Embleton had gone up to the Mount Becher cabin on Saturday night and were about half a mile from Anderson’s cabin when Douglas saw some clothing on the trail. Later they came upon the skeleton of a man on the trail. Near the body they found a rifle with six shells in the magazine and they brought this down and turned it over to the police. There were more cartridges in his pocket, three cheese sandwiches and a small quantity of sugar. Some wild animals had been worrying the body. The police have taken charge of the body and an inquiry was held by Mr. A.J. Taylor, coroner in Cumberland. The old man, who always wandered alone in the hills arising out of Comox Lake, was missed just before Christmas. He has a cabin on Cumberland Lake and since he was in the habit of wandering off by himself no alarm was felt for some days. In the meantime there had been a heavy fall of snow. Search parties went out when the cabin was found vacant but nothing was discovered. Yet the party that floundered in the snow to Mount Becher must have stepped within a few feet of the body as it lay under the snow on the trail. The supposition was that the old man had left his cabin to go hunting in the hills and that he was going to make his quarters in Mount Becher cabin, and this is almost certainly correct, for when he was caught in the storm he was well on his way there.
Identified At Inquiry
The inquiry held by magistrate A.J. Taylor at Cumberland on Wednesday afternoon definitely identified the skeleton found by Douglas Thomas and Rex Embleton on the Mount Becher trail to that of Harry Rees. Dr. George K. MacNaughton from examination of the shape of the face and teeth expressed the opinion that this was the remains of Rees, and from the condition of the remains and from the fact that the food that he had with him was intact that he had not died a slow death as from starvation but had died probably from heart failure following a strenuous climb. Rees was seventy-six years of age. Mr. Arthur Gatz, son-in-law of the deceased, made positive identification from the watch, knife and gun and clothing. The watch and knife he had given the deceased himself, and he quoted the number of the watch before it was examined. Messrs. J. Stewart and Harry Ellis who lived near Rees at the lake identified the gun and clothing. Evidence was also given by J. Stewart, Clive Banks, Harry Ellis and Constable Dave Shand who went in and brought out the remains. The skeleton was found almost directly in the trail leading to Mount Becher Cabin, and about a mile and a half above Anderson’s Cabin, at about the point Rees must have emerged on the trail coming from Quartz Creek. The clothing and remains have been disturbed by animals, probably by bear. The search parties which went up Mount Becher to look for Rees in December must have passed over his body hidden beneath the deep snow. The last party to the cabin passed that way on April 15th when there was still six feet of snow but the warm weather of the last few weeks has exposed the trail. Douglas Thomas and Rex Embleton who was with him, told how they found the skeleton.
Club To Camp at Sooke Soon
June 30 To July 8 Set As Dates For Alpine Group’s Annual Outing
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday June 8, 1934, p.3.
Between thirty and forty members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada will go under canvas from June 30 to July 8, inclusive, at the new cabin near the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke. This outdoor camp is one of the features of this club’s yearly schedule. Mountain climbing and hiking, within radius of from fifteen to twenty miles, will be included on the programme. Various woodcraft experiments and tests will be carried out. The new cabin, which replaced the one burned down some time ago, was erected from insurance funds received from the old structure. It has been well equipped for members’ accommodation. Special ceremonies will mark the official opening of the cabin on July 1. F.N. Neel has been appointed camp cook.
Off To Forbidden Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 14, 1934. p.1.
Mr. Eugene Croteau is going up to the Forbidden Plateau on Friday with Jack Murray and his pack train, he is taking with him Len Avent and Miss Margaret “Peggy” Sillence is to follow later. Five men from the Public Works Department have been working on the trail and all obstructions are now out. The snow should have all gone by now. Mr. Croteau reports that several parties have already booked ahead for this month.
Forbidden Plateau Has Good Camp
Croteau’s Camp Serves Forbidden Plateau, A Few Miles from Courtenay
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 17, 1934, p.19.
Much has been written of the Forbidden Plateau from the point of the mountaineer and the attractions which await the less ambitious visitor have been passed over in thrilling tales of lofty peaks and hazardous climbs. In reality this lovely area, only a few miles from Courtenay, holds scenic beauty and charm, together with ease of access, which annually draw hundreds of visitors. Croteau’s Camp is established on the Plateau for the purpose of serving the holiday seeker, and twice weekly a pack train goes in from Courtenay, carrying supplies for the camp and accompanied by saddle ponies for those who wish ease and comfort in transportation.
3,000 Feet Up
The Forbidden Plateau is approximately 100 square miles in extent, the general elevation being over 1,600 feet. The highest point is the Albert Edward Peak, 7,000 feet. It commences fifteen miles west of Courtenay and is separated on the farther side by Buttle Lake by the Albert Edward Range. There are two trails into it, one from the Burns Ranch, roughly five miles from Courtenay, and the other from Bevan. It is about sixteen miles by the first trail, at Elma Lake, and about twelve miles by the second to Mount Becher, to the point where the Courtenay Mountaineering Club has its headquarters. This latter is used largely for Winter sports.
To those who are familiar with mountain country, the tang of the scented air above the timber line is an elixir well known. To those who have never experienced it there is a treat in store. The clean, bracing wind brings the illusion of a world apart, while the scenery, with stunted trees and flower-carpeted alpine meadows serves to heighten this impression. The whole area is interlaced with clear-flowing streams, entering or emptying lakes which are notable for their size and extent. Game is plentiful throughout the area, while the lakes and rivers are stocked with fish. The whole is set aside as a game reserve, and the deer in particular, through their unfamiliarity with man, are surprisingly tame. The photographer will find many interesting studies of wild and still life. A growing number of trails are being built through this beautiful country, and saddle ponies are available for those who wish to make an extended visit.
At Circle Lake
Circle [Circlet] Lake is reckoned as one of the most lovely camp sites to be found anywhere, lying at the foot of snow-peaked mountains that forma striking contrast to the warmer hues of the countryside. Horses may be taken to any part of the Plateau, and natural feed is plentiful practically the entire Summer. The area is now open to fishermen, for the waters have been stocked with more than 200,000 Kamloops trout and they are thriving in the water, which apparently suits them. Lovely though the greater part of this island is acknowledged to be, the Forbidden Plateau holds a unique charm that is found no where else. The beauties of mountain scenery, natural sweeps of open country, wonderful flowers and sparkling lakes are found in the area seemingly made by the hand of Nature as a vast park for holiday seekers.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 21, 1934. p.2.
Back in the hills among the trappers and the prospectors there is an unwritten code. At the end of a day’s march if the trapper comes on a cabin and finds no one at home he goes in and takes possession. He is welcome to the firewood, of the food and of the shelter. But he is in honor bound to leave everything neat and ship shape and wood cut for the next traveller. To lock up a cabin is or was unthought of. It was a fine, a Christian code. But unfortunately, strangers cannot be relied upon to keep the code. Since Mr. Eugene Croteau has had a cabin on the Forbidden Plateau he has never had to lock the cabin. There it stood all the winter while he was not there for anyone to use: you might enter, use his wood, his blankets, his beds, his food. But you were expected to use and not abuse. Now this time when he went up he found that some barbarian had stolen three pairs of his best blankets, left the dishes unwashed and food scattered all over the place. Someone had abused his hospitality. And the inevitable result is that this haven of refuge will in future be padlocked and some poor wayfarer at the end of a long day’s hike and perhaps at the end of his physical resources may find himself without shelter and food. It has been the same on the Mount Becher camp of the Comox Mountaineering Club. Some people without any sense of decency and self control have used the cabin and have done much damage and left it in a filthy condition. Such people should not be allowed the freedom of the woods. In the old days if they were found fouling cabins they would have been treated with rough and ready justice but these are degenerate days.
Alpine Club Hut in Sooke Hills Again Attract Campers
Bevy Of Vancouver Island Section Members Going Out On Sunday To Attend Formal Opening Of New Cabin Which Replaces Building Destroyed By Fire
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday June 28, 1934, p.15.
In the remote heights of the Sooke Hills, hidden just below the western skyline from Victoria, a building of considerable interest has been erected during the last three months. This is the new hut of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. Built to replace the hut that was demolished by fire last January, the new structure will be formally opened next Sunday [July 1], the first day of the annual ten-day Summer camp. Between twenty and thirty members have expressed their intention of being present, and the steep five-mile mountain trail to the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills will be a little more deeply engraved by the feet of these enthusiastic pilgrims wending their way once more to the shrine of Nature. The new hut is on the exact sire of the old. As a matter of fact, the tone chimney of the original cabin survived the fire and has been made the nucleus of the new building. From this point, however, the pattern diverges into new lines. The old cabin was a two-story structure, the entire lower floor constituting the recreation hall, dinning-room and lounge, in one; and the upper floor being a sleeping loft and storeroom. The kitchen was at the back. The new cabin is a one-story structure of bungalow design, a very good idea of the front view of which may be gained from the accompanying picture.
Looks Like Log Cabin
It looks like a log cabin. But it is only cedar log siding giving the effect of whole logs. The deception is quite justifiable, for while it makes the outside appearance quite in keeping with the forested mountain scenery round about, it gives smooth, flat walls inside. The simplicity of the line, the broad veranda, the solidly shuttered windows and the heavy door with their massive hand-wrought iron hinges, are all in fine keeping with the setting and purpose of the building. The over-all measurements, exclusive of the kitchen, are forty-two feet by eighteen feet, with an eight-foot-wide veranda running the full length of the building. It is so constructed that although but one story in height, it has actually more room than the former hut. The main hall, which is the middle section of the building, measures eighteen feet by twenty-two feet. At each end is a section measuring eighteen feet by ten feet, one of which is for men’s sleeping quarters, the other for the women members. Each section has eight bunks, arranged in four sets of two each—an upper and lower. Lockers under each of the lower bunks, and double lockers under each of the two windows opening out of each section, provide the four additional lockers to give one to each occupant.
Packed By Horses
The transporting of building material was no small feat. Every stick of timber had to go up the mountain on the pack-horses, a slow and laborious performance, as everyone who has visited the camp will realize, as the trail is steep and tortuous in many places. One almost wonders how the horses negotiated some of the sharp turns without ramming the logs into trees or rocks. Much skill was shown in the slinging of the larger timbers so that they would not hurt the ponies, the packer, H. Vogel, hitting on the ingenious idea of packing them, one each side of the saddle, in bales of hay which subsequently provided the horses with their fodder. The building, done in record time—thanks to the persistently fine weather of February, March and April, and to the energetic packing—was in charge of Mr. Warnock, of Colquitz. The iron work, which is a most artistic feature of the structure, was supplied by S. Shields master iron worker, of Sooke. He also made the big iron crane in the fireplace. Many a hospitable kettle will swing from this during the Winters to come. Even more important than sleeping quarters in such a camp is the kitchen equipment. The kitchen is on the West side of the building, immediately behind the fireplace, so that the stove is piped into the same chimney. The stove made by the Albion Stove Works, is of ample proportions, able to take care of forty persons. It was taken up in pieces and put together on arrival at the hut. Everyone intending to register for the forthcoming nine-days’ camp will welcome the news that F.N. Neel is again to be the cook. For many years a sailor, with unique experience as admiral’s chef, he is also a most entertaining raconteur, and has enlivened many a bonfire gathering with his stories. As a cook he has a deft hand, and mealtime is a real event when he is in charge of the kitchen. The furnishing of the new premises is simple but sufficient, consisting of eight small tables, four feet long by two foot six inches wide, a serving table, and stout benches in lieu of chairs. Everything was built on the premises, including the secretary’s desk and the kitchen tables also. Pots and pans have been donated by the members.
The outside camp equipment was untouched by the fire, and campers will feel at home when they discover the original out-of-doors cook stove, the old outdoor messroom, where some of the jolliest gatherings of past years have taken place, and the incinerator, which absorbs all the camp rubbish. One thing that will be sadly missed is the canoe donated by Miss Sara Spencer. This was stowed in the hut last Winter, and unfortunately perished in the fire. One of the first things the campers will have to do during the coming week is to build a raft, as without water craft of some kind half the joy of camp life is lost. Swimming, fishing and expeditions to other points about the lake very much depend on some such means of transportation. Claude L. Harrison, chairman of the local section of the Alpine Club of Canada will officiate at the formal opening of the new hut. Other officers who are intending to be present are the secretary, Miss Kathleen Martin; and the treasurer, Gordon Cameron; also, members of the executive, William H. Dougan, H.B. Jones and Miss Sara Spencer.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 12, 1934. p.2.
Three veterans of the trail, Sid Williams, Jack Bowbrick and Len Rossiter have just returned from a quick trip between Comox Lake and Buttles [Buttle] Lake. They followed the fork of the Cruikshank to the top of the ridge. The going was heavy getting out of the Cruikshank but once out of it, not too difficult at all. They made Buttles Lake in three days sleeping out on the ridge and finding some beauty spots. There had been others before them as they found an old cairn in one place. On Buttles Lake they built a raft and paddles back at their leisure stopping at the Titus home for a day then coming out via Campbell Lakes. There appears to be no easy road or pass between the Forbidden Plateau and Buttles Lake the ridges running athwart the path, nor is there any climb from the Plateau to the Comox Glacier save over some very difficult country: both must be attacked from Comox Lake. There is now a well blazed trail from the Little Lakes to the Glacier and it can be made in a day without much effort, from the base camp.
Many Visit Forbidden Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 26, 1934. p.2.
Last week the Forbidden Plateau saw a big influx of visitors. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy and dull; but those who were able to stay up during the week had compensation in azure skies and brilliant weather. Percy Wills came down yesterday with his son—both had climbed Mt. Albert Edward the day before.
Youngest Up Mount Arrowsmith
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 26, 1934. p.5.
In the last issue of the West Coast Advocate, there is recorded the climbing of Mount Arrowsmith by Dr. C.T. Hilton and his daughter. Has anyone, asks the editor, climbed the peak and returned home in one day, and isn’t Miss Moreen Hilton the youngest to make the difficult climb? In July 1931, the Misses Katherine and Phyllis Capes, Mr. Ben Hughes and Mr. Geoffrey B. Capes climbed Arrowsmith and returned to Courtenay in one day. At that time Miss Phyllis Capes was only a day or two past her sixteenth birthday so that probably she holds the record as being the youngest to make the ascent, as Miss M. Hilton was a few months older.
Alpine Club Season Now Mapped Out
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 5, 1934, p.7.
Saturna Island, for the first time in the history of the local section of the Alpine Club f Canada, is to be the rendezvous of members for the climb included in the forthcoming season programme. The outing committee met recently and has now completed the plans for the pre-1935 expeditions. The season is to open with a trip to Mount Survey and district on Friday, August 31, and will concluded with a camp to be held at the Lake of the Seven Hills, the latter timed in such away that New Year’s Eve will be spent at the new hut. One additional climb has been arranged, this being for the last Sunday in January next. The complete programme is as follows: Friday, August 31, Mount Survey and district; or Saturday, September 1, to Monday, September 3, expedition starting from Sooke Lake. Saddle horses will be provided to the 2,500-foot line, after which the summit will be scaled on foot, returning to Sooke Lake. Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16—Saturna Island. A dinner at Sidney will complete this outing. Saturday, September 29, Mount McDonald; Saturday to Monday, October 6-8 (Thanksgiving week-end), camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills; Sunday October 21, mountain west from Sooke Road; Saturday, November 3, Lone Tree Hill; Saturday and Sunday, November 10 to 11 (Armistice Day week-end), camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills; Sunday, November 25, Mount Maguire; Sunday December, 9, Mount Shepherd, outing terminating with dinner at Seaways; Saturday to Tuesday, December 29 to January 1, New Year camp, Lake of the Seven Hills. The Mount Matheson expedition will take place on Sunday, January 27.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 9, 1934. p.2.
It would seem that honors for being the youngest mountaineer to climb Mount Arrowsmith and return on the same day still belongs to Miss Moreen Hilton, but whether or not Dr. C.T. Hilton can claim to be the oldest to have accomplished the feat is a matter that is disputed this week, says the West Coast Advocate. Last week in the Comox Argus, the editor comments upon Miss Hilton’s climb and adds that in July 1931, the Misses Katherine and Phyllis Capes, Mr. Ben Hughes and Mr. Geoffrey B. Capes climbed the “hill” and returned to Courtenay in one day. Phyllis was just over her sixteenth birthday. However, a check reveals that Miss Hilton, when she made the climb, was about two weeks younger than the Courtenay lass, so that the honor remains in Port Alberni. As for Dr. Hiltons claim, Mr. S.R.D. Bayne writes from Beaver Creek this week as follows: “First allow me to congratulate Miss Hilton as I believe she is certainly the youngest to make the ascent. But although the good Doctor gave not his age, I think he has been beaten. In 1919, September 17, Mr. Frederick W. Godsal, now residing in Victoria, and Mr. Stanley Bayne, made the ascent and back to Cameron Lake and could easily have made Port Alberni if either of them had had a car. In doing so Mr. Godsal celebrated his 66th birthday on that day, and Mr. Bayne was 53 years old.” Mr. Bayne suggests (and we should like to see his suggestion carried out) that “the next reliable party to climb the mountain, open the cairn on the highest pinnacle and copy out all the names and have the list published in your paper. There may be some surprises in store for the people of the Alberni district in that list. For instance: who was the first, oldest, youngest, etc?” Further letters on this subject will be welcomed by the editor.
Mount Celeste, 18 August 1934
Forbidden Plateau Is Popular
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 30, 1934. p.2.
There have never been so many people of the Forbidden Plateau as this year. They are going in both from Dove Creek and Bevan, on foot and horse back, with and without packs. There has been one small misadventure on the trail. One young hiker from Victoria, striving to cut a chocolate bar in two with a bowie knife, ran the blade deep into his leg. He had to lay up one day at Smith’s cabin and come out on horse back. Guests who have registered at the camp are from: Argyllshire, Scotland; Scardale, N.Y.; Seattle, Washington; Vancouver; Victoria; Nanaimo; Mill Bay; Cumberland; Bevan; Comox; Sandwick and Keating.
Exploring Centre of Island
More Interest Taken In Sub-Alpine Region This Season Than Ever Before
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 13, 1934. p.1 & 4.
By Ben Hughes
For the past six or seven years a little body of enthusiasts have been attempting to interest the public in the great sub-alpine region which forms the centre of Vancouver Island. A few people have year by year made their way into the Forbidden Plateau but they have been a small and select crowd. This year has shown far more interest than ever before. More have gone up by the Dove Creek trail and according to Mr. Clinton S. Wood, who has made a road out of the logging grade up to Mount Becher, 450 have driven to his cabins overlooking Bevan and many have gone beyond. West of the Forbidden Plateau area is a much more rugged and majestic terrain of glaciers and snow fields. A very few have been in here. Joe Rees and the Reverend George Kinney of Cumberland were the pioneers. In 1929 a party from Courtenay climbed Comox Glacier and two years alter they explored the glacier to the north-west of it. Since then Harold Cliffe has taken up the good work. He has blazed a good trail from Trout Lake over Mount Evans [Kookjai Mountain] into the Glacier country and he has taken two parties in this year, one a party of American tourists and later a party of young people from Courtenay.
Two Glaciers Connected
As a result of one of his climbs while taking photo-topographical pictures of the Glacier area, Mr. Norman C. Stewart has found a way across from the Comox Glacier to the glacier that was first explored by a Courtenay party in 1931. It’s not a way for novices but it’s quite feasible. He also thinks that a route can be found from Mount Albert Edward of the Plateau area to the Comox Glacier. Both of these projects have been much in the minds of local climbers for the past five or six years. Mr. Norman C. Stewart and Mr. William J. Moffat are the head of the survey party from Victoria that have been mapping the Plateau and Glacier area this summer. They have been in the interior of the island for some months taking pictures from the ground to tie up with the aerial pictures that were taken three years ago. Their work first took them into the plateau by the Dove Creek route and they made their base at Circle [Circlet] Lake, a party of seven. From Mount Albert Edward, Mr. Stewart struck towards Comox Glacier and got sufficiently near to the latter to believe him to think that a party could get through and back over Mount Evans and Trout Lake. On this occasion he was too far from his base to make the attempt. The connecting of the Plateau country with the Glacier terrain has been a favorite ambition of local climbers for some years. Sid Williams and W. Adrian B. Paul started out once from the Cruikshank Canyon but saw the difficulties of the route and came back. And others have looked longingly across to the great expanse of snow from the Plateau. Mr. Stewart has actually accomplished another climb that has been intriguing mountaineers. He has found a way from the Comox Glacier to the other glacier that lies to the west guarded by two high peaks.
A Red Mountain
One of these peaks was first climbed by a party from Courtenay headed by Mr. W.A.B. Paul in July 1931. They climbed the Comox Glacier in 1929 and seen a vast area of glacier and snow to the west and resolved that sooner or later they would make their way to it. Two years later they did attempt it. They went right up the Puntledge passed the base camp for the Comox Lake on Trout Lake and found a ridge running to a red pillar [Red Pillar Mountain] of a mountain to the north-west of the glacier that had so excited their imagination and fancy. This peak is the highest of all in the neighborhood and the most spectacular. They climbed it and left a cairn on the top with their names in it: W.A.B. Paul, Jack Gregson and Ben Hughes. This peak has now been climbed again by Mr. Moffat of the survey party, and he has recommended that it be called Mount Esther, the Christian name of the American lady [Esther Shankey] who has been in the Glacier district this year with Harold Cliffe and a party from Trout Lake. Mr. Stewart made his way to the new glacier from Comox Lake. He took the route from Trout Lake over Mount Evans to the Comox Glacier. Then with Nicky Mitchell and Dick Williams he sought a route to the glacier which is guarded by Mount Esther. He found it. In this he was more lucky than the Paul party in 1931 who sought the same route but from the northwest side of the Pillar glacier and got stuck when they reached a snow bridge high up on a peak, which they called Camel Mountain [Argus Mountain].
Plateau And Glacier
There is no doubt that the Plateau and the Glacier area should all be thrown into one park. The Plateau is ideal for those who want easy climbs, while the Glacier is for those who are more ambitious. When a route is established between the two, as is more probable it will be in the next year or two, it will make a most attractive field for alpinists. There are some nice problems in rock and snow work for the experienced as well as easier climbs for the novice. The whole would embrace an area of 300 square miles which would tie on to Strathcona Park and would make altogether an alpine playground within sight of salt water unsurpassed in Canada. Nearer home, Sid Williams, Stuart Wood and Miss Peggy Watt have been busy with the cabin on Mount Becher putting it in shape for winter activities. It is now in first class shape and Sid Williams and Stuart Wood have been carrying shakes up to roof it. More hands make light work, and the president of the club is always willing to sign on more helpers as there is plenty to do.
Abco Mine in Good Showing
Property At Herbert Arm on West Coast Now Being Developed
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday October 3, 1934, p.18.
Mining activity on Vancouver Island, which has been marked during the past year, is being materially increased through the incorporation of Abco Mines, Limited, which company has secured title to the Mary McQuilton group of twelve claims at the head of Herbert Arm. The property was held under option by the Waverly-Tangier Mines, Limited, with prospecting work carried on since early last Spring. Russel Walker & Co., Ltd., are the new company’s fiscal agents, and B.W.W. McDougall, M.E., is the consulting engineer.
No Blank Assays
Abco holding consist of twelve claims, located at tidewater, with fourteen veins disclosed through surface stripping. No blank assays were met with in the forty-nine samples cut by the consulting engineer, with values running from a few dollars per ton to as high as 19 ounces of gold per ton in the case of quartz stringers in the shear zone.
Build New Float
A new float, 20 X 50 feet, has been constructed at the head of Herbert Arm, where machinery and supplies will be unloaded direct from coast-wise steamers. A mile of motor highway is to be constructed immediately from the seashore up Cotter Creek to the site of the proposed diesel compressor house and lower camp buildings. A tramway up the mountain to a height of approximately 3,000 feet will be installed as part of the preparatory work, and machine drilling will be undertaken from the start. It is the company’s intention to ship high grade ore to the smelter from the commencement of mining development, so that revenue will be available while exploration of the veins and their development are under way.
The mine site is halfway up the southern slopes of Abco Mountain. It was given this name by the surveyor Norman Stewart in 1938. It was an acronym for the American British Company which at the time held the mining claims on the mountain. It was previously known as Big Boy Mountain. Abco Mountain was officially adopted 5 August 1948.
Down From Forbidden Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday October 4, 1934. p.5.
Mr. Eugene Croteau is down from the Forbidden Plateau after the best season he has had there. There have been more people and they have all enjoyed themselves and promised to come again. Mr. Croteau would have been down a week earlier but just as he was packed up and ready to head down the trail for Comox, two ladies came up—Mrs. Lillian Maxwell of Cowichan Bay and Miss Stephanie Jones of Victoria. Mr. Croteau unpacked and the two ladies and he had the Forbidden Plateau all to themselves. There was plenty of trout in the lakes and huckleberry pie every day for supper. There was a nip in the air at night and ice on the pail in the morning, with a touch of snow—but the latter soon went. But the days were gorgeous, quite warm and clear. Wild geese flying south could be heard on every lake and there were plenty of blue grouse. At the end of the week, smoke rolled up from the bush fires of the lowlands and obscured the view; and the ladies had to come down. With them came Mr. Croteau and his pack train, and the Forbidden Plateau will soon be wrapped in its winter mantle of snow.
Abco Assured of Plentiful Funds
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday October 17, 1934, p.18.
Assured of funds by a satisfactory response to the offering of treasury shares by Russell Walker & Co. Ltd., fiscal agents, Abco Mines, Ltd., is making good progress in preparing to carry out systematic development campaign recommended by B.W.W. McDougall, M.E., for its property at Herbert Arm, Vancouver Island. Mr. McDougall returned to Vancouver after spending some days at the property directing the work. Approximately $25,000 will be spent on preparatory work, including the installation of a tramway about 3,500 feet in length. A survey of the right of way for the tramline is now in progress and sites are being prepared for compressor houses and other camp buildings. About twelve to fifteen men are employed.
From the Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources Annual Report ending December 31, 1935:
The properties in this section are grouped near the head of Herbert Arm. They are reached by Canadian Pacific steamers from Victoria to Ahousat and then by launch for 12 miles to the head of Herbert Arm. Gold-bearing quartz veins, both of the replacement and fissure type, occur in extrusive and intrusive greenstones that have been cut by acid intrusives. These include feldspar porphyry, quartz porphyry, and a highly altered light-colored granite or alaskite. The veins are later than any of these. Quartz is the predominant vein-filling and sulphides, including pyrite, chalcopyrite, and galena, axe present, but seldom in large amounts. Abco Mines Ltd (N.P.L.), is stated to own twenty-two mineral claims and fractions, held by location, near the head of Herbert Arm. The property is reached by 1¼ miles of truck-road from the head of the arm to the lower camp. The showings and surface workings are on the steep southerly slopes of Big Boy Mountain [Abco Mountain]. The hillside, covered by a heavy growth of large timber, is very steep; rock bluffs are not numerous. Mineralization has resulted in the filling of many small fractures in greenstone by quartz and carbonates and, in one instance, the formation of three lenticular quartz veins in a zone of strong shearing 4 feet wide. The showings occur in the canyonous bed of a creek that descends the mountain-side in a southerly course 2,200 feet to its junction with Cotter Creek near the lower camp. The rocks exposed in the creek-bed comprise B variety of greenstones and feldspar-porphyry dykes. The predominant greenstone is B fine-grained dacite (quartz andesite), with the exception of an amygdaloidal variety found near the Joan and Kermode showings. The feldspar-porphyry dykes, recognized by their light greenish-grey weathering surfaces, occur in the vicinity of the Joan and Cotter showings and in both cases antedate the quartz veins. The Abco Mines Ltd, was formed in September, 1934, to take over the Mary McQuilton property from the Waverly-Tangier Mines Ltd, Jack L. Gibson, Jas. H. Livesley, and W. Kermode. Since that time the new company has erected several camp buildings, built a road from the beach to the lower camp, and an aerial tram that is operated by a gasoline engine-driven hoist. The only previous reference to the property is in the Annual Report of the Minister of Mines for 1933, under the name of Mary McQuilton group of twelve claims. Hand-mining operations have been confined to obtaining high-grade ore from the Mary McQuilton vein. At the time of the writer’s visit 23 tons were about to be shipped to the Tacoma smelter. The various showings will be described consecutively as they occur down the hillside from the most important vein, the Mary McQuilton. This vein is at an elevation of 2,550 feet. Trenching and open-cutting bad exposed a definite shear-zone 4 feet in width, with an average strike of north 45 degrees east and a dip of 50 degrees north-west over an exposed length of 30 feet. This shear-zone contains three very similar and lenticular quartz-calcite veins that vary in width from thin ⅛ inch stringers to lenses 5 inches in width. The quartz and calcite in the thicker lenses is mottled grey and white in colour and is cut by numerous curving fractures, many of which contain very fine-grained pyrite. Coarse-grained pyrite and chalcopyrite occur as small clusters here and there in the quartz and calcite. Three samples, each across 4 inches of mineralized quartz from the veins, averaged: Gold, 3.46 oz. per ton; silver, 1.43 oz. per ton. The rock formation in the immediate vicinity is massive dacite. This, however, has been crushed to an incoherent mass in the shear-zone. The Joan vein, at an elevation of 2,500 feet, is 200 feet south-east from the Mary McQuilton. The showing consists of a reticulating quartz vein that varies from 6 to 2 inches in width over the exposed length of 5 feet. The quartz is vuggy and sulphides are absent. The rock formation is amygdaloidal greenstone that has been cut by a greyish weathering feldspar-porphyry dyke 1½ feet wide. The dyke is cut by the vein. The Livesley showing is in the same gulch as the Mary McQuilton vein, but below it and at an elevation of 2,315 feet. The main showing is on the east wall of the gulch and consists of a lenticular quartz vein that strikes from north 25 to north 45 degrees east, dips 30 degrees north-west, and varies in width from 8 to 2 inches over a continuous exposed length of 12 feet. The walls are tight; no faulting or gouge is evident, although a dense andesite dyke cut by the vein has been badly shattered. This vein appears to continue westward into the gulch, but it narrows perceptibly. Pyrite, chalcopyrite, and galena accompany the quartz. Massive dacite has, on the east side of the vein, been cut by a badly fractured andesite dyke 10 feet wide. The vein cuts the dyke. The Cotter vein is in the same gulch as the Livesley and Mary McQuilton, but at B lower elevation of 1,800 feet. The main showing is in the bed of the gulch, where a vertical 17-foot feldspar-porphyry dyke has been cut by a flat fault and the fault discontinuously filled by a narrow quartz vein 2 inches and less in width. This vein for the most part is free from sulphides except in one place, where it contains abundant pyrite, chalcopyrite, and galena. This concentration occurs at the intersection of the fault-plane and the plane of contact between the north-east wall of the dyke and the surrounding andesite. The dyke strikes north 45 degrees west and dips 75 degrees north-east, and the fault-plane strikes north 25 degrees east and dips 15 degrees south-easterly, displacing the dyke by 7 feet. The Walker showing is in a tributary gulch west of the main one, and is 250 feet northwest of the Cotter vein at an elevation of 1,950 feet. The best showing, a. quartz vein that strikes north and dips 35 degrees east, is continuous for 15 feet and reaches a maximum width of 4 inches. On the south end it disappears in rubble, and on the north end the only evidence of it is a mass of reticulating quartz veinlets. Two small sections of quartz veinlets have been discovered on the north-west side of the creek. Pyrite, chalcopyrite, and a little galena accompany the quartz. The rock formation is andesite, but this contains considerable carbonate in the vicinity of the quartz veinlets. The Kermode showing is immediately below the Walker and at an elevation of 1,900 feet. Here an exposed face 4 feet square shows numerous veinlets both of quartz and of ankerite carbonate in amygdaloidal greenstone. Small amounts of galena accompany the quartz. The Gibson showing is in the main gulch at an elevation of 1,460 feet and below the area included by the accompanying plan. It comprises three areas, about 16 feet apart, of quartz-calcite veinlets. The lowest and most noticeable is a zone from 8 to 10 inches wide that contains numerous reticulating quartz veinlets and includes fragments of rock. There are no visible sulphides. The rock formation is quartz andesite and contains ankerite carbonate and in places some epidote.
Engineer Had Many Friends
K.M. Chadwick, Chestnut St., Succumbs Suddenly—Funeral Wednesday
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday October 23, 1934, p.5.
With tragic suddenness, the death occurred, on Sunday, of Kenneth M. Chadwick, well-known for many years as a prominent civil engineer of the community. Mr. Chadwick succumbed following an operation at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, to which he was taken in response to an emergency call, having been, apparently, in his usual good health on Saturday. A native of Leeds, England, Mr. Chadwick was the youngest son of the late J.G. Chadwick. He was fifty-six years of age. He came to Canada in 1907, and lived in Penticton, for about five years before he and his family came to Victoria in 1914, to make their home here. Although of a quiet disposition, he made many friends and identified himself with many activities in the city. For many years Mr. Chadwick was secretary of the Victoria branch of the Canadian Institute of Engineers; he was secretary also of the local centre of the Rosicrucian Society; a member of the Men’s Guild of St. Mary’s Church, Oak Bay; a member of the Radio Club, in which he took great interest, and, since the revival of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, eight or nine years ago, he has been the secretary or member of the executive almost continuously. Just a fortnight ago he was at the Alpine Club hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills, with some of the other members, and took part in completing some details of the new building. In Victoria he is survived by his widow and one daughter, Muriel, living at the family residence, 1827 Chestnut Street. Three brothers and a sister live in England. The funeral cortege will leave Hayward’s B.C. Funeral Chapel on Wednesday afternoon, at 1:45 o’clock, proceeding to St. Mary’s Church, Oak Bay, where Canon A.E. Del. Nunns will conduct the services at 2 o’clock. Interment will be in Royal Oak Burial Park.
Unnamed Hill Is Climbed
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday October 23, 1934, p.8.
An unnamed hill, one of the rockiest ever attached by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, was climbed on Saturday [October 21] by eight members of the section under Claude L. Harrison’s guidance. Showers were encountered and everyone was thoroughly drenched before the expedition was over, but the outing was, nevertheless, declared very successful. The next expedition will be on Saturday, November 3, and will be to Lone Tree Hill. The cars will leave Victoria at 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Glacier Terrain Is Described
Mr. Harold Cliffe Talks of Mountains Behind Courtenay
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 1, 1934. p.1 & 8.
The usual attendants at a meeting of the Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade was doubled by members of the Comox Mountaineering Club and others interest in the lovely wilderness to the west of us when Mr. Harold Cliffe gave a talk on “The Glacier Country”. During the past year or two Harold has rambled over the terrain in the vicinity of the Comox Glacier, the majestic snow-field overlooking Courtenay. This summer he took in two parties and he came in contact with the party of surveyors who are making ground plans of this district. There has been a good deal of discussion about the identity of the peaks of the glacial group; and this the surveyors and Mr. Cliffe and now clearing up. There appears to be no doubt that the first party to reach the top of the Comox Glacier was Reverend George Kinney and a Cumberland party [Harold Banks, James Tremlett and Alfred McNevin]. They went up the Cruikshank River and made their way down from the Comox Glacier to Buttles Lake. Mr. Kinney was an experienced mountaineer being the first man to reach the top of Mount Robson. They had a very hard trip. The next ascent of the Comox Glacier was in July of 1929 when a party led by Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul made the ascent. The party included in addition to Mr. Paul, Mr. Cyril Berkeley and Miss Alfreda Berkeley of the Biological Station at Nanaimo. Mr. Arthur Leighton of Nanaimo and Mr. Geoffrey B. Capes and Mr. Ben Hughes of Courtenay.
The First Party
They went up Comox Lake in a boat and then by boat to the third of the Little Lakes, where they struck up the steep slope of Mount Evans [Mount Kookjai]. They found a good trial over Mount Evans into unknown terrain, and onto the top of Comox Glacier where they left their names in a cairn. From the mountain top leading to the glacier the party first caught sight of another glacier and two more peaks which they swore they would scale another time. This is the means of approach which has been followed by Harold and the surveyors as the most practical since. It was two years before the party would gather again to explore the country to the west they had seen when they were making their way to the Comox Glacier—the end of July 1931. The party then consisted of Messrs. W.A.B. Paul, Arthur Leighton of Nanaimo, and Jack Gregson and Ben Hughes. Instead of striking up Mount Evans they continued along the Puntledge Valley right to the source and then struck up a very steep bridge to gain the mountain they had seen from the Dome. the next day they climbed this virgin peak and left a cairn on top with their names and our request that it should be called the pillar it being of that shape and of a reddish color. they came back by the same route the party was away only five days carried heavy packs and had no opportunity to make exact observations.
There then appears to have been a lapse of interest in this region until Mr. Harold Cliffe found his way into it and made it his own. He conducted two parties in this summer; the first being of Americans. One of these was a lady whose Christian name was Esther and the Pillar Peak, the glacier and a beautiful little lake on the road to the Comox Glacier have been named after her by the government surveyors who went in there this summer. Largely through Mr. Harold Cliffe and this expedition there is likely to be more popular interest in this region.
30 Miles from Courtenay
Speaking to the Board of Trade on Monday, Mr. Harold Cliffe said that the Comox Glacier was twenty-one miles in an air-line from Courtenay and twenty-nine to thirty miles from the ground route. The elevation of the Comox Glacier was 6,600 feet. It was the watershed of all the rivers. There were three glaciers in the group, the Comox Glacier, the glacier behind it and the Esther Glacier. There were two beautiful lakes at the foot of Esther Glacier. One which had been called Iceberg Lake because it was full of small floating floes and the other of the color of indigo. By the Cruikshank River another glacier had been climbed by the late Mr. Joe Rees several times. Mr. Cliffe described the beauty of the country and the flowers. He said little was known about it yet but more would be when the records and the pictures taken by Mr. Norman C. Stewart and his party of surveyors were made public. As a result of the trip into the country this year, another has already been planned for next, when Harold Cliffe will lead a party of visitors and local people in there. To do away with the arduous backpacking, it is planned, if found practicable, to drop supplies by airplane on the glacier where they could be picked up. This would give much greater freedom of movement for the party.
Forbidden Plateau and Glaciers
During the evening, Mr. Cliffe made clear several points that have been perplexing climbers for some time period for instance, he said that it was an optical illusion to imagine that the Comox Glacier is flanked by two peaks as it appears from Comox. These peaks were on the other glaciers. The whole country is new and will bear a great deal more exploration. He also said that there should be no conflict of interest between the Forbidden Plateau in the Glacier country; the one was complementary to the other. The glacier country was much rougher and more majestic and awe-inspiring and much harder to travel in. It was very desirable that a route should be found from the Forbidden Plateau to the glaciers; but it would be very rugged country in between and no one had found one yet. He had no doubt that one could and would be found by experienced climbers during the evening letters were read from the Surveyor General at Ottawa to the effect that when the maps and records of the survey party headed by Mr. N.C. Stewart, were finished they would be forwarded.
Re-Elected By Acclamation
C.L. Harrison Returned As Chairman Of Alpine Club Local Section
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday December 19, 1934, p.2.
Claude L. Harrison was re-elected by acclamation, to the chairmanship of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, at the annual meeting held Monday [December 17] night at the Y.M.C.A. Other officers for the ensuing year are: Miss Kathleen Martin, secretary; Gordon Cameron, treasurer, and the following executive of five: William H. Dougan, Robert D. McCaw, H.B. Jones, Miss Muriel Aylard and Thomas S. Goodlake. A review of the year’s activities was given by Mr. Harrison in his address. He encouraged the members to make use of the club hut at the Lake-of-the-Seven-Hills, and said he hoped that as many as possible would attend the annual camp during the coming Summer at Mount Assiniboine, the “Canadian Matterhorn.” A very deep appreciation was paid to the late Kenneth M. Chadwick, whose passing had left a great gap among the active members.
Reports were read by the treasurer, the convener of the outings committee; the honorary chairman of the section, Arthur O. Wheeler, brought a message, and Mr. Dougan introduced one or two suggestions. The coming season’s programme will be drawn up after the various committees are struck. One outing is already scheduled for the last Sunday of January to Mount Matheson. Thanks to the open season, there has been little interruption in the late Autumn activities, and a New Year camp will be held December 31 to January 2. Attention was drawn during the meeting to the energetic manner in which Mr. Harrison had attacked the work of rebuilding after the disastrous fire that destroyed the hut last January, the entire work being completed in less than five months, C. Vogel, of Sooke, being the contractor. Mrs. Mackenzie entertained the member, after the formal business meeting, with an account of her trip around the world.
The Next Five Years: 1935 – 1939.